BLOP NOTE: I love a good WOOP (Worst Of Oak Park), and wow, my friend Sandi had a good one from last night! She is my first Guest blogger. Sandi Pedersen is also known as Wednesday Journal Inc.’s Online Editor and mother of four. She’s my “go to” person when it comes to questions about school, classes, life etc. since her youngest and my oldest are in the same grade. I lean on Sandi for her humor, insight and craftiness. I am sure this is not the last you will hear from Sandi!

And today’s WoOP award goes to the Lake St. and Forest Ave. Parking Garage.

The 13-year-old, the 16-year-old and I went to see Harry Potter at midnight at the Lake, Thursday night. We parked the car in the garage at Lake and Forest.

The movie was over at 2:30 a.m.

As we were walking to the garage and then up the stairs, I kept my eye open for a pay station. At the top of the stairs I asked the kids if they saw one, “no”. After getting in the car and turning on the heat, I looked around again. I see no signs telling me where to pay for parking. We pull out and join the long line of cars waiting to get out of the garage.

Finally, just before the actual gate, I spot a sign that says something like stop here in one of these five-minute spots and go back to the pay station if you haven’t paid yet. The five-minute spots are all full.

In the meantime, it’s obvious I’m not the only one who missed paying. Passengers are getting out of cars, the line is not moving and the horns are honking. We manage to pull over to the side and I jump out, go back down the stairs, back outside, look around again, and there – over there – I finally see the pay station. I also see a line of people.

I start to count people and text the kids to warn them this is going to take awhile. There are 28 people waiting in line to pay. The man in front of me asks me the time. 2:43 a.m. We are standing outside, in the cold, waiting to pay our three or four bucks at 2:43 in the morning. Tick tick tick. It’s 3 am. Tick tick tick, it’s 3:10 a.m. and still eight people in front of me, the horns are honking upstairs and people are still getting in line behind me.

Right after I finally pay, two teenage girls come running down asking anyone who will listen to let them butt in line because their car is at the gate, holding everyone up.

We got home at 3:35 a.m.

Three thumbs up for the two and a half hour movie, three thumbs down for the one-hour journey out of the parking garage.

Sandi Pedersen

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Lourdes Nicholls

Chances are that if you don't know Lourdes, you don't really know Oak Park. This Oak Park mom of three can't walk a village block without running into someone she knows. She's about as effervescent as...

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