Hey there, Polar Vortex! You don’t scare us.

I recently got distracted with The Phobia List.  It’s amazing what kinds of things people are legitimately afraid of.

Say, for example, consecotaleophobia–the fear of chopsticks. That’s a real thing, guys. Like, a clinically diagnosable fear.

A few other phobias I’m really glad I don’t have:

  • Alliumphobia (fear of garlic)
  • Amaxophobia (fear of riding in a car)
  • Atelophobia (fear of imperfection)
  • Autophobia (fear of being in love)

And that’s just touching the A’s of the list! If you think you can avoid contracting phobophobia (fear of phobias), I recommend the Phobia List distraction.

One of the phobias I would not fare too well with, living in Chicago, is cheimatophobia (fear of intense cold). This week, we have had our second Polar Vortex of the year. Brock has now officially missed three days of school due to the intensely cold weather this year. We decided yesterday that instead of cowering inside, we would conquer the -35° wind chills with donuts and coffee downtown.

Because my sister knows us well, our Christmas cash was coupled with a list of new places for us to discover in the city. We took our list and cash, and started at The Doughnut Vault.


The Doughnut Vault is one of Chicago’s most popular destinations for a good donut fix, but it is hard to catch the place open.  I have eagerly made the trip many times, only to be greeted at the window with a closed sign, reminding me that the place is only open as long as there are still donuts on the shelves. Fortunately for B and me, there seem to be a lot of people suffering from cheimatophobia in Chicago, so we were greeted with a friendly face offering us plenty of donuts to choose from.

There’s no seating in the place–it’s literally a counter and a door that has a slot for Love Letters and Hate Mail. After finally getting to taste what we had only heard rumors of, we had nothing but love.


From The Doughnut Vault, we headed for Artopolis. Let me tell you, my sister had done her research. The place was this amazing Euro cafe nestled in the heart of Greektown. I couldn’t think of anything more Euro-cafeish than bread and cheese, so we ordered breaded cheese. (Brock is obsessed with feta, which often works out in my benefit.)

Obviously we couldn’t walk away from this counter without ordering a treat.


We went with the Dark Chocolate Mousse Cup.

I think if there was such thing as the fear of sharing food, B would be diagnosed with it. I realized that the kid always reminds me to take pics right when he is about to start eating, and by the time I get a non-blurry pic that includes both his face and the food (and not squished together into some disastrous mishmash), he’s nearly done with the treat. Smart little rascal.

After polishing off the remainder of the chocolate cup that Brock had missed, we decided to find a more comfortable place to settle down for the afternoon. I had been to Uncommon Ground before, and knew it would be just what we were looking for. I gave Brock our options, and he said, “…okay, but let’s go to the other [Uncommon Grounds] since we haven’t been to that one before.”


We nestled in by the fireplace at the Rogers Park Uncommon Grounds, and spent our afternoon playing board games, reading books, writing in our journals, and daydreaming together.

My heart was full as I realized how blessed I am to have a sister who knows me as well as Mel does, and a son who craves adventure as much as Brock does. I can’t imagine navigating my way through life with a family who struggled with neophobia (fear of anything new).


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