Friday, September 28, 2007

I'm tired.

Flying back from Reno our flight was delayed.

To make it worse, we had to fly from Reno to San Francisco to Chicago. We landed at O'hare last night at 12:30am. I got home at 1:30 and woke up at 6:00 to come to work on Sports Action Team.

Speaking of Sports Action Team, every Sunday the cast and fans of the show meet up and watch the episode at a bar or restaurant around town. This week I was able to help arrange the meeting place at one of my favorite restaurants in my neighborhood. It's Joey's Brickhouse on Belmont.

Greg, the manager and brother of Joey, was in a couple levels of classes that I had taught at IO. It's a great restaurant and has some of the best desserts in town. So, if you're around, come and watch the show, eat some food and have a good time Sunday night.

So, tomorrow is the big move.

I'm 80% packed. I'm thrown away 5 or 6 gigantic bags of things I don't want anymore. I've also tossed out several pieces of furniture and 3 computer systems.

I basically stood over everything in my apartment and asked myself, "Do I really feel like dragging this down the stairs and out to a moving van, driving it to another address and dragging up 4 flights of stairs?"

If the answer was no, I dragged it to the garbage shoot and crammed it in. Then I ran back to my apartment and slammed the door so no one knew it was me stuffing the garbage shoot full of oversized items.

I jammed a whole chair down that garbage shoot on Monday!

If you feel like carrying a few boxes stop by 3719 N. Southport tomorrow at 3:00pm.

Apparently, Mel's not coming. It seems like she's kind of mad that I'm moving on the same weekend.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Reno...

Don't you hate it when you're showering in a hotel and you reach for a towel to dry off with and you realize when you're finished that you just dried yourself with the floor mat. I do it everytime. They look exactly like the bath towels, they're just a little bit thinner.

Last Saturday was Brett's birthday so Jeannie and I took him to a place called Minnie's.

Everything there is miniature. The sandwiches, the drinks,......everything.

Yesterday, Carla, Brett and I flew to Reno to give a presentation to a bunch of financial advisors.
The meeting is actually in Minden, Nevada at the Carson Valley Inn and Casino and RV park.

Oh brother!

It's a pretty depressing casino. How depressing, you ask. Well, I'll tell you. Last night Brett and I played in a Poker tournament and the guy sitting next to me had had a large portion of his skull removed so we could see the skin of his head stretched over his brain. Everytime he ate anything, the top of his head pulsated.

It's also strange here because all the staff knows all the gamblers here. It's pretty much the same people gambling here everyday so they all know each other.

We've also noticed that every man in this part of Nevada has a mustache, beard or long hair. In most cases, it's all three.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Stupid, stupid Bears

I'm still mad about last nights Bears games.

So mad that I'm not even enjoying the Cubs recent success. Don't get me wrong, this past week as a Cubs fan has been AMZING! It's just that the Bears were downright awful.

And then there's my nemises Brett Favre. Green Bay is 3-0.

My only consolation is that the Cubs are stealing NL Central from the Brewers.

***

6 days away from the big move. Yesterday we packed up 70% of my apartment. We're going to try to get another 25% of it done in the next couple of days because I'm going to be out of town Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday I have to paint the walls of my current apartment so I can get my security deposit back.

Since I'm getting a new couch, someone came and took my old couch away yesterday. I've had that couch for six years so it was kind of sad to see it go. After it was gone Jeannie's eyes watered as she looked at the indentions in the carpet that marked where the couch had always stood. "It happened so fast I didn't even have a chance to say goodbye," she said.

***

Two stories about customer service-

Wednesday night I had to stay at the Ritz Carlton because I had an early morning presentation there on Thursday morning. I worked late at the production offices for Sports Action Team so I got to the Ritz Carlton just a little before 9pm. I had to pick up something for my presentation so I rushed over to Macy's to try and pick it up.

I got to the doors of Macy's at the Water Tower Place right at 9pm. The item that I needed was located right at the cash register and I could see it through the glass entrance doors. I reached to push the door open and a maintenance man waved his arms at me to tell me they were closing. I told him that the item I needed was right there at the cash register and it would only take me 1 minute to get it.

He shook his head and yelled, "No way. No way. Absolutely not." He pushed the door closed as the electronic locks locked me out.

While it annoyed me, I can understand how frustrating it is to have someone come in at closing time.

What angered me was that when the maintenance man walked back toward the store, the 2 female employees at the cash register high-fived him and congratulated him for locking me out. I could hear them say, "Nice work, bro." "Thank God, you stopped him Dexter. I saw him at the door and I almost threw up because I had already started to count this cash register down."

The three of them did a little celebratory dance until one of the girls looked back toward the door and said, "Dudes he's still standing at the door staring at us."

She was right. I was.

I stood there staring at them for the next 7 minutes.

They stood at their cash register counting money, trying to not looking at me. Every so often, one of them would try to sneak a look up to see if I was still there.

I was.

I didn't even want to buy anything anymore. I just wanted them to feel awkward for having celebrated over locking me out.

Story #2
On Friday afternoon I stopped into Jamba Juice to get a smoothie before walking home after a long day of shopping at Best Buy. I ordered a Berry Lime Sublime (which is no longer on the menu, but everytime I order it they still make it for me) and handed the cashier my debit card.

As she swiped the card the cash register blinked and turned off. The manager came over and they fiddled with the register for several minutes untl the manager shrugged her shoulders, smiled and said, "Free Smoothies until I can reset the computers."

I offered to pay in cash, but the girl refused to take. "That's okay," she said. "Enjoy a free smoothie."

I put the money I was going to use for the smoothie into the tip jar.


A little bit of good customer service goes a long way. I will visit Jamba Juice again. Often!

I will never go to Macy's again.

***

Go Cubs.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Last week at the track...

Busy weekend.

Friday night Jeannie and I went to one of her favorite restaurants, Uncle Julio's Hacienda. Afterward, we went couch shopping. Jeannie got a little sidetracked. She found the massage chair and I couldn't get her out of it.

We found a couch! It will be delivered to my new apartment at the end of the month. That's right. I'm moving. After 5 years of living at the Music Box building, I'm moving a couple blocks away to Addison and Lakewood.

So, if you're not busy and would like to help me move the weekend of he 29th, please feel free to cancel all of your plans and come over to carry a few boxes. If your name is Brett Lyons, you need to take a day off of work and dedicate your entire day to helping me move. I've moved your butt 3 times now and on 2 of those occasions I've been the only person helping you move.

After our couch shopping adventures, Jeannie and I went to celebrate Thomas Whittington's birthday. We played Whirley Ball for 2 hours. It was the first time Jeannie had played Whirly Ball and she had really good time. She even scored 2 goals.

On Saturday we went to the racetrack with our good friend Curt Foxworth. It's the last weekend of "live racing" at Arlington Race Track so it was nice to out for one final look at the horses. Jeannie's friend Anne went with us. It was Anne's first trip to the track and she won the first two races. Literally. We slapped a saddle on her, a jockey jumped on and Anne won by a nose.

Our friends Brian and Molly went with us also, but I don't have photos of them. However, I'm sure Molly does on her blog.

On Sunday, we rested. And we were blessed with victories from the Cubs and the Bears.

In the evening, we watched the hit TV show, Sports Action Team. Here are a few of the stars of that show:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Denver...

For the second time in a month I'm in a hotel that advertises itself as a castle. The last one was when we were in Toronto and that was an upscale Westin hotel which happened to be located next to a castle.

This hotel I'm staying in now is nowhere near a castle. It really makes no sense as to why it's called a castle. You'd expect to see a renessiance fair or theme park next to it. Alas, neither are here.

It's the Radisson North Denver Graystone Castle.

It's weird.

For some reason, I was given the Monarch Room. I'm in one of the spires so my room is HUGE and ROUND.
When I use the restroom, I have to use this room. Strange.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ouch...

I fell yesterday. On the ground. Hard!

Ironically, on Sunday as I stood outside my apartment waiting for Brett to pick me up, I watched as several children raced by me and tripped over the same spot. We all fell on a crack in the pavement in front of the Jewel on Southport.

As all the kids fell, I thought back to when I was younger and fell all the time. Nothing hurt worse than falling on the pavement and scraping your knees. Actually, I take that back. Scraping the palms of your hands hurts worse. You sort of lose the aching feeling in your knees, but that pain on your palms takes days to go away.

After falling, each of the kids lay on the ground crying until their parents picked them up and convinced them they weren't hurt as bad as they thought they were. Their lips quivered as their parents wiped the blood off their hands and rubbed the rocks and dirt off their knees. Not completely convinced that they felt as good as their parents had told them, the kids whimpered as their parents led them away.

I whinced each time a kid fell. I had sympathy pains in my knees and hands. I must have fallen down a lot as a kid because I really thought I could feel those rocks digging into their knees and the skin being scraped from their palms.

I was wrong.

My imaginary, sympathetic pains were nothing like the actual pains of falling down. I discovered that on Monday.

I walked out of the Jewel with two plastic shopping bags as I attempted to hail a cab so I could make it over to Brett's house for poker and a BBQ. Not paying attention to where I was walking I crashed down in the same place where all the kids had fallen. I landed hard on my knees and hands.

I wanted to lay on the ground and cry until someone picked me up and helped me wipe off my knees and hands. Unfortunately, my mom was in Decatur and Jeannie was in San Antonio, so I had to rely on the Streetwise guy to pick me up. He picked up my grocery bags and used one of his newspapers to wipe the blood from my knees and hands.

It hurt....

...bad.

It's strange. I've been injured quite a few times in my life. I've torn my rotater cuff, I've sprained my ankle. I've broken my nose, twice. I cut off a chunk of my finger and had it sewed back on. I've had four or five concussions. I've been in 3 accidents. And, I've even been hit by a car as I walked across the street.

Nothing, hurts worse than skinning your knees and scraping your hands!