Archive for July, 2010

In Transit

My monthly commutes to and from Chicago continue though I received word today that it appears as if the sellers bank has approved the sale of condo on which I made an offer. Fortunately there’s no dire need to be in Chicago by any specific date, but it could be soon.

If you’re not familiar with a short sale, here’s the deal; while the seller of the property may agree to the sale (she did), the seller’s bank must also agree. Because the property is being sold for less than what’s owed, the bank has to weigh their options – essentially aiming for not loosing too much money. The upside is that it’s cheaper for a bank to take a loss during a short sale than to deal with a foreclosure.

You’ll recall that in October of last year I made mention of joining Amtrak’s reward program in order to start accumulating points for future travel. I’m still using Amtrak for my commute and in less than a year I’ve earned more than half of the points needed for a cross-zone sleeper car. My goal is a sleeper to Salt Lake City, crossing the Rockies in the winter.

Still Amtrak remains, at least for me, the most efficient method for the commute. The night trains (both directions) mean that I’m sleeping and moving at the same time. When I arrive at Union Station its a quick walk to catch the L to where I stay. My CTA card refills automatically so I don’t have to think twice about pocket change. I’ve even set my CTA card to bill my Amtrak credit card, so I’m earning points for riding local transit in Chicago.

With the exception of one or two individuals, I see the same Amtrak crew with each trip. I like that. On my last trip back to Ohio I sat next to a geologist from California. I would have enjoyed talking throughout the night, but I had to go right into work the next morning and sleeping was necessary.

The trains have been quite full this summer. So much so that certain trains are sold out in advance – requiring a slight change in plans. But that’s good news for Amtrak. I’m always delighted to see my 13-car train back to Ohio sold out – at least for the sake of Amtrak accountants.

Each trip has been planned for both work and pleasure. The work being getting ready for the move. Planning for the new furniture, choosing paint colors and deciding upon which carpet to have installed. Working with the vendors and doormen of the building to coordinate the when, how’s and who to notify.

The pleasure is always just as rewarding. Since the January Tweet-up I’ve been introduced to friends of friends of friends, allowing for each trip to lend itself to something new. A great massage. A buddy’s birthday party. Checking in on a friend who had knee surgery. Running into folks on the L, or at the butcher shop.

Maybe it’s just “pedestrian life” – seven months behind us in the year already and one’s bound to see familiar faces on the street.

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