Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Moving, Corey and Monique style

Corey and I have a good life. We've been blessed with good family and friends, a happy marriage, we laugh alot, love living in this city and generally enjoy life. Of course we're also us, which means bad luck follows us. I'm not being ungrateful, but man stupid stuff just follows us.

So... we've moved into our condo this weekend. Of course it didn't just happen easily. First we had some issues with the developers not telling us about changes in our place, such as putting up drywall over the bottom quarter of our brick wall in the living room. After going round and round with them, we were able to settle on things and were ready to close and move in on Friday.
We did the walk through and put together a "punch list." This is a list of small items such as touching up paint or cleaning up the brick. They have 30 days from closing to complete this. We put together the list and planned to start moving little things like clothes on Friday night. The truck was rented and our friends were ready to help with the big move on Saturday morning. Well, during the walk thru, the contractor and realtor told us that we couldn't move in on Saturday because they had to put the finish on the hardwood floors. This takes "6-8, maybe 10 hours to dry." This was frustrating because I had literally called the realtor every week for the last month or so to make sure the place would be ready in time. I told her that we could push the move date back if needed, but I just needed to know ahead of time. She reassured me that everything would be good to go by Fri, May 26th. Of course it wasn't, so we scramble to get the moving truck on Sunday instead and made sure that our crew was still willing and able to help out a day later.
Since the floors were supposed to be dry by Saturday night, we decided to get some light moving done that night. We show up to the condo 10 hours after the floor finish was put on and it still wasn't dry. Annoyed, we went back home, finally Sunday morning it was dry.... we thought. I walk into the bedroom to start hanging up a closet system we bought and felt stickiness under my feet. That's right, ruined the floor right off the git go. Luckily the rest of the place was dry, they'll just have to come back and touch up that room, because I'm not paying to fix it.
Next up was the actual move. Chicago seems to be having an unusually chilli season this year, except of course for Sunday. It was the hottest day of the year. Going up and down three flights of stairs to move out of the old apartment in the hot sticky weather was miserable. Tyler claims it was the worst day of his entire life.
Still, we got everything out and everyone is still alive. At least the new place is airconditioned - WRONG! Not yet at least. Nice of the builders to tell us that our A/C wouldn't be in right way. Supposedly it's going to be running this week. Until then, Corey and I have been sleep on the couches because the living room is the only room with a fan. This fan/light is turned on and off by remote control. Pretty cool, except that we're apparently on the same frequency as our upstairs neighbor. So, if they turn their lights off, ours go off too and visa versa. At 7pm last night they turned their lights off. I could only play tug of war with the lights for so long before I had to give up and unpack in the dark.
To me, these types of issues don't seem like "punch list" items. They're items that should be listed as "we need to complete these before we tell Corey and Monique that the condo is ready to be moved into" items. It'd be nice to have cable or for the hallway lights not to be connected to the outdoor light so that it would work in the daytime and not just the night like it does now. Also, on that "ready to move in" list I'd include a deadbolt that works or a shower door. Hey, maybe I'm being picky. This is the first time I've bought a home, so what do I know. Maybe homeowners don't need a toilet seat. Geez!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Wasted time

Two weeks to go till we move into the new place. Much of our efforts have been concentrated on looking for creative ways to utilize the little storage we'll have in the new place. This is the perfect job for Ikea. That's if we can find it. Effing Yahoo Maps doesn't know what it's talking about. Last night we wasted the whole evening looking for the damn place. We were coming from a different direction than normal and according to our directions we just needed to follow a single road all the way to Ikea. Seemed simple. That was until the road that was supposed to lead us directly to the store just stopped. We drove, drove, drove and then no more. Then when I tried calling the store to ask for directions, I waited on hold for 15 minutes and when I finally talked to someone, they said they didn't have directions from where I was. Last night was just a huge waste of time. I wouldn't mind so much, but with Corey gone so much with his rehearsals lately, we have to take advantage of any extra time he's off. This was one of the only chances we'd have this week to get the organization stuff we needed.

Oh well. Besides this little glitch, things are going well so far. The big "Ravenswood Manor" garage sale is on Sunday. Those of you in Chicago should come over and buy some of my crap from me. I never realized until this move that I'm quite the pack rat. I had no clue. I've changed my ways though. Every week, I throw out or give away bags and bags of junk that others may need, but after keeping it around for 2 years and never using whatever the item is, I've finally realized it's time to let go.

Yeah, last night was wasted in some ways, but at least we got some much needed business out of the way. On our endless search for the Swedish wonder that is Ikea, we debated over a very important topic. "Which is the more disgusting phrase? Among a few of the options... 'Gas coming out of my butthole,' 'Gas coming out of my sphincter,' 'Gas coming out of my ass?' " I voted on the first. Seriously, Corey is really lucky to be married to such a sophisticated, classy woman and I have never met a more gentlemanly man than him. Keep your jealously aside people. I know it's hard, but try to resist.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I finally made the jump and decided to try Ambien, the sleep medication. I've been sleeping horribly at night, tossing and turning and waking up every few hours starting at (almost to the minute) 2:00am. I was and still am a little nervous to take sleep aides, because I already talk in my sleep and sometimes walk in my sleep. I hear Ambien can make you do crazy stuff, especially if you're predisposed to doing stuff in your sleep. I'm desperate though, I have to get some sleep.
Last night I took my first pill. Unfortunately it was at about 7 hours before I needed to wake up, not the recommended 8 hours of sleep. Now I understand why they say that, because I woke up an hour late. At least I didn't wake up all through out the night like usual, still I don't feel rested. Maybe it was because I jolted out of bed panicking this morning. Tonight I'll take it even ealier and hopefully all will go well. Maybe the meds will make be do something crazy in my sleep, like pack up the apartment. That'd be nice, just get it all done while sleeping. You know me, I like to multi-task.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006


The Billy Brimblecom Benefit was this past weekend, on Saturday April 29. At the risk of sounding immodest, I'm calling it a resounding success. The night so completely exceeded my expectations, I can't begin to explain. The short version: Monique and I talked on the plane to KC and were of the opinion that if we pulled in $8,000 - $10,000 it would be a huge deal. What an enormous help to Billy and his family if we could bring in that kind of money.

Then Saturday came, and it all began to roll in. First in the afternoon we get word that the shows were selling out. Then people arrived and start buying raffle tickets and bidding on auction items, and the thing just becomes this unstoppable force! It keeps rolling on until by the end of the night we've tallied somewhere in the $19,000-$20,000 range. Re-read that last sentence. I'll wait. Yeah, exactly.

There were so many great stories from the weekend. Here's just a sampling:
  • Like the friend of ours who I booked to do a teambuilding workshop a month or so ago. He calls and says "Remember that check you gave me for the workshop? I'm tearing it up. Put it in the Billy fund."
  • We did a huge media blitz before the show. The Friday, April 28th cover story on Billy in the Lawrence Journal-World. Great article, you should read it.
    Jason and I are at Mix 93.3 on Friday morning promoting the show, and "Rocket" the morning DJ guy, gave us a CD of "Popo Zao" that was actually autographed by Kevin Federline. We then raffle that off at the show. Hilarious.
  • Jason has one of my favorite lines of the weekend. He, Billy and I are at 98.9 The Rock promoting the benefit on Johnny Dare's morning show. Johnny was terrific, really interested in Billy's new leg, which is very high tech looking, with a clear shell part. The boys start talking about ways to decorate that and Johnny recommends filling it with water and goldfish. Billy mentions skittles. Jason says "Fill it in like a rainstick. Then people will be all 'Is it raining? No, it's just Billy doing crunches.'"
  • Some amazingly generous people came to the show and bid on the auction items. We sold nearly everything! The auction itself accounted for about $10,000! It was helped by the brother and sister who got into a bidding war over the 2 tickets to next season's SNL Season Premiere. The sister won out in the end with a bid of $2200. So the brother tells Jason that if he can hook him up with 2 more tickets, he'll match his sister's bid. Done.
  • My friend Ryan Dolan procured 4 VIP tickets to a taping of an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. We live auctioned them from the stage. The bidding started at around $250, but quickly grew to $500. Then it ramped up past $600, then $700, then $800. I thought it was going to end up there, a nice sum certainly when a bidder finally yells out "$900!". Everyone cheers, there's a pause, and the same guy yells again "ONE THOUSAND!" I yell , "Sold!" and we get a cool grand by the man who outbid himself.
  • Billy had probably the best idea which came to life at the benefit show. A few months back, Jason did a bit on SNL called "The Young Chuck Norris". It was one of those SNL Digital Shorts, and it was a video for a song. Jason played a character named Doug Brogar, the prototypical classic rocker with ripped jeans, long hair, American flag bandana, fingerless gloves, etc. It's a funny song which you can view here. So Billy has Jason email him an mp3 of the song a few weeks before the benefit so the band can learn it. And at the show, Blackpool Lights closes out their set by inviting Doug Brogar and his backup singers, The Liberty Belles, to the stage. Jason, accompanied by his wife Kay, Billy's girlfriend Ali, and Monique sing the Young Chuck Norris song, in full wig and costume. It was incredible! Here's a picture from the rehearsal:

I could go on and on. Suffice to say, the band sounded amazing, the comedy was hilarious, and everyone had a great time. We sold over 40 items in the auction and raffled off another 25 or so prizes. Along with donations that came in before the show, the overall amount raised for Billy is around $32,000 or so. And that number is growing. The website is still up, and online donations can still be made there. Though we've got enough to pay for Billy's prosthetic leg, there is still the enormous debt accumulated from a year of chemotherapy and surgery and hospital stays, etc. So feel free to keep donating!

Thanks again to everyone who volunteered, donated prizes, came to the show, performed in the show, bought tickets, promoted the event, bid on auction items, maintained the website, and overall gave of their time and effort and money to make an unforgettable night go from a crazy idea to a beyond-our-wildest-dreams reality.

- Corey

P.S. - More pictures from the event are coming soon!