Obama tries being regular guy for a while longer
Can you really be a regular guy and lead a normal, low-key life when you're going to be the next president of the United States?
Barack Obama hopes so, and he is doing his best to prove it - at least in the first week since winning a decisive victory against John McCain in last Tuesday's presidential election.
Mr Obama and his family know their lives will change drastically when they move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January, so they are enjoying the last few months of "normalcy" before entering the fishbowl of the White House.
He seemed slightly taken aback on Friday when he walked into his first news conference as president-elect and a room full of reporters stood as he entered.
Accustomed to reporters balancing computers on their laps as they asked questions on the campaign trail, Mr Obama just said "Wow" then began speaking.
Though security has been beefed up since Mr Obama became president-elect, with a few more streets blocked off around his Chicago house and more police officers in his motorcade, the 47-year-old is trying to go about his regular business.
In the past few days he has gone out to a downtown restaurant for a three-hour dinner with his wife Michelle, enjoyed an unprecedented number of nights in a row at home in his own bed and followed a daily workout regime.
For his Saturday night dinner date with his wife, Mr Obama's motorcade was as unobtrusive as a dozen cars snaking their way through downtown could be. Police rang their sirens only a few times and for most of the ride they did not use their flashing lights - presumably in an effort to minimise attention.
The Obamas even went to their daughters' school this week for a parent-teacher conference, which had to be postponed because of the gruelling presidential campaign which kept Mr Obama away from home most of the time.
They looked like other parents, conferring as they exited the school. Except that Michelle Obama was carrying flowers that had apparently been given to her inside the school and the two got into separate motorcades after saying goodbye.
One constant that Mr Obama has required is regular exercise. Even after staying up until nearly 2 a.m. on election night, he went to the gym early on Wednesday before a day of meetings.
Yesterday morning - a day he says he likes to start by making breakfast together with Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha - Mr Obama got up early and headed to the gym, located in a nearby apartment complex owned by a good friend.