Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Along the back stairs, one of our neighbors has painted part of one of the walls, well... sort of like a tombstone. At the top there's a large word that I assume is a last name (I've cut that out of the picture for any possible privacy concerns). Below it are two first names. Rebecca and Jenni.

Did something terrible happen in 2008?

Monday, March 30, 2009

In the airport, I accidentally stepped on Sarah's new glasses, shattering one of the lenses.

She tried to make me feel better about it ("I shouldn't have put them in your lap") but I feel terrible about it. Going to sleep last night I kept seeing it over and over again, lifting my foot ("hmm, what was that?") and finding her glasses underneath.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My parents hug, moments after the end of the game.

Later, walking into Champions, the hotel bar, ESPN is playing the last seconds of the game, as a miracle three-point shot in overtime wins the game. Looking up at the TV we all cheer, and then cheer again when we realize that it's Sportscenter's number one play of the day.

We drink and eat and talk about the game. Several of Dad's players (some current and some alumni) stand up and lead the entire bar in singing 'Rhinestone Cowboy,' one of his favorite songs.

Later we find out that Sportscenter has changed the play of the day to a moment from Villanova's upset over Pitt, knocking our win to number two.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The National Championship game. I sat in the second row behind my Uncle Mike and my Grandpa Paul.

Uncle Mike: Dad, we've been coming to Ron's games for almost 40 years now, and this here is the most important one yet. It's the big one.
Grandpa: The big one, huh?

The clock counted down the final seconds before the start of the game, and my dad said things to his team that none of us in the stands could hear over the music booming through the stadium. I never thought I'd find myself getting choked up to the tune of Europe's, 'The Final Countdown.'

Sherry: These games get tough to watch. I think it's because... I think I can maybe do something. I start to feel like I can affect the game. You know?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Last minute decision... Sarah and I flew out to New England to meet up with my family for tomorrow's championship game.

Two of my three sisters, Julie and Sherry, had been there for several days.

Julie: My flight back to Ohio was actually supposed to be today. You never know how these things are going to go. Last time Dad made it to the Elite Eight I flew out and they lost the first night, and my flight back wasn't for four more days. This time I figured I'd split the difference. Luckily, I can ride back with Matt.

Julie's husband, Matt, drove eleven hours from Ohio this morning, with their two rambunctious (but adorable) young sons, Ty and Will, in the back seat.

Matt: The van smells kind of bad, now.

We all stayed in a different hotel (different town actually) from my parents.

Sarah: How's your dad doing?
Julie: Good.
Sherry: Stressed.
Julie: He's got a lot on his mind. Did you hear about after the first game?
Me: Yeah, he left Mom at the stadium, right? Didn't realize he was supposed to wait for her to get on the bus.
Julie: Well, last night, after the second game, everyone stayed in the stands for a while, celebrating, just kind of blown away...
Sherry: And dad comes out and walks across the court.
Julie: Everyone gets quiet, like he's going to make an announcement or something. The whole place goes quiet.
Sherry: And he just walks up to Mom and says, "I'll meet you back at the hotel." And then walks back to the locker room.
Julie: Everyone was like, Is that it?
Sherry: We all thought he was going to say something profound.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My dad is a basketball coach at a small NCAA Division II university in Ohio. He's had a great season this year, completely undefeated.

Last night his team played in an Elite Eight game for only the second time ever. Sarah and I were able to watch streaming video of the game in a tiny window on my computer. It was an intense game, nerve-rattling. They made it into overtime by the skin of their teeth, and then won (WON!) sending them to their first ever Final Four game.

Sarah: When's the next game?
Me: Tomorrow.
Sarah: That's awesome. We should have people over.
Me: And have them crowd around my computer?
Sarah: Oh. I guess not.

Tonight's game was even more stressful, my dad's team not playing quite as well, but staying in it, always trailing by just a few points. Sarah had an improv show (March Madness themed) so I was alone in the apartment. I had to get up and walk away from the computer a few times to settle my nerves, remembering why I stopped watching basketball in the first place.

I'm not up to the writing challenge of conveying the last insane seconds of the game that flashed by in that tiny streaming video player, but... well... they won. By them I mean we. We won. My dad is going to the championship game this weekend. The national championship game.

This one will be televised by CBS, so I'll be able to watch it on the big TV.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

We've been trying to eat healthier and cook at home. I'm in charge of grocery shopping. New grocery store combined with obscure (to me) ingredients, make for some long trips.

By far the toughest thing to find has been dashi. I went to two different stores (one of them fancy) and called a third. No one could even figure out what dashi is, let alone if they have it.

Me: I think it's some kind of spice, maybe. It's Asian. But I don't really know. It just says here on the recipe "a few granules of dashi."

One grocery store employee disappeared for fifteen minutes and came back with sheets of paper he'd printed up from internet research. "I think it might be some kind of soup stock," he said, rifling though the pages, "but I'm still not sure. It says here, 'Some consider dashi an essential ingredient while many will have never even heard of it.'"

That's when I started getting angry at the recipe. Those sonsa bitches. It's easy for them to just write down the word, but I have to freakin' find it.

I was eventually able to track some down at an Asian Market near our apartment.

"Dashi" has become my new exclamation when I'm frustrated or annoyed. Dashi!!

The miso soup did taste great, though.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I realized during my trip to Florida that the address tag on my suitcase is outdated. Many years outdated. It's where I lived two moves ago (technically, three moves ago).

I imagined my suitcase getting lost and the airline sending it to a past me, living a different life in a different state.

Past Me: Hmm. I'm going to put on some weight over the next few years. And what's this new deodorant I'm going to start using?

I pried the old address label out from under the plastic slip and threw it way, but since I don't have a replacement label, my suitcase is currently addressless.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Washer. Dryer. Dishwasher. Thank you new apartment. These things are making my life easier/better.

But at night, if one of these machines is on, I'll hear their foreign rattles and bangs from the other end of the apartment, and not yet feeling fully at home in my home, become momentarily panicked or frightened. "A noise! Someone's in the apartment! Ghosts!"

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sarah was out of town this weekend as well, on a trip to Galena with some girl friends.

They all went to a fortune teller and took pictures of their tarot cards so they could go to a "fancy dinner" afterward and discuss eachother's readings.

Sarah: Mine was pretty much positive all around. Although the reader didn't tell me I was an "old soul" like the woman did last year.
Me: When you got your cards read on your girls trip last year?
Sarah: [laughing] Yeah, she said, "You're an old soul. One of the oldest I've seen. I'm happy to be here with you."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Holiday Inn.

Roommates again. One night only.

Friday, March 20, 2009


A few members of the Whirled News Tonight cast flew down to Vero Beach to do our improv show in an elegant 700 seat theater. A fun opportunity to get out of town, make a little extra cash and perform for 500-some theater-going Floridians (aka well dressed people with gray hair).

After the show we were invited up to a private lounge ("Don't mind the 'No Admittance' sign.") for free drinks and to have our pictures taken with "the sponsors." None of the sponsors showed up (they probably still liked the show, though... right?) so we downed our drinks, took a group photo and headed back to our beachfront hotel.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Found the beard trimmer.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sarah made sushi for the first time tonight.

Sarah: It's not pretty... but I MADE IT!

We realized we don't have any soy sauce bowls so we used measuring cups.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I suspect Sarah and I may be the only people in our apartment building who don't own dogs. This suspicion comes from the barking and the door mats with things like "Wipe Your Paws" written on them.

Oh, and these bags of poo sitting on a ledge on the back stairwell.

Gross? Yes. But better than dog shit strewn all over the back yard.

(there's some of that too)

Monday, March 16, 2009

More moving. This time at work.

For the last half year I've been working upstairs, but I'm going to be helping another division out for a few weeks, so today I moved back downstairs. To my old desk, in fact. For some reason, it's unoccupied. No one stays there very long. What's wrong with my old desk?

Despite having only been upstairs (and for only half a year), it feels like moving back to an old neighborhood and finding that your old house is available for rent.

Some of the things people randomly left at my desk while I was gone include jellyfish-like rubber balls and two bottles of something called 'Juice Plus+' ('Orchard Blend' and 'Garden Blend'). The giant styrofoam Twinkie was there when I left.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Still unpacking.

Sarah: Between me and you, we have a lot of pictures of... me and you.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

1 year birthday party for Vivian (Trupe and Wonak's daughter).

Before the cake was cut, everyone gathered for an old Polish tradition involving a shot glass, a rosary and a coin. The one year old's future is predicted by which object they grab. Shot glass: drunk. Rosary: nun. Coin: millionaire.

Wonak: I grabbed the coin on my first birthday. So lucky me.

Viv, like her mother, is destined to be a millionaire.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Despite having moved from a third floor apartment to another third floor apartment (and having lived in a long series of third floor apartments before that), I keep stopping on the second floor, thinking that's where I live. I worry that I'm terrorizing whoever lives there as I repeatedly try to put my key in their door. I know it would freak me out.

Realizing my mistake I always say aloud to myself, "Oh wait, this isn't my floor," in a slightly louder than necessary voice, hopefully calming whoever is on the other side of the door.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

While out getting drinks last night, we all, unasked, had our caricatures drawn by a guy who sat in the corner of the bar, mumbling cryptic religious things to himself. He's not an unfamiliar sight in the neighborhood and this is not the first drawing he's done of a group I've been in. (The rumor floating around is that, decades ago he was the official Second City cast caricaturist, before whatever exactly happened to him happened to him.)

Meador gave him some money for the picture and we all tried to puzzle out who was who. It seems to be (from left to right) Meador, Trupe, Nick, Martin, Young and Me.

Meador: That's me by elimination. I've never looked that svelte.
Trupe: Look at Arnie's abs! He looks insane.
Me: The guy must have read an inner strength on me.
Young: You look like a gay Wolverine.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Drinks with friends. Simply getting together to grab some beers seems to get more difficult as we get older.

For instance, here's this (half-joking) e-mail exchange from earlier today.

Nick: Can someone tell me why the fuck we're meeting at dinnertime in a bar that serves no food? Whose stupid idea was that?
Martin: Who eats dinner at 7:30 anyway? Why don't you all eat dinner at a normal hour and then come out at 7:30, for after-dinner drinks?
Young: What fucking time do you eat dinner?
Me: I thought we were meeting at 8:30.
Nick: Arnie, go back to sleep.
Martin: 6 fucking 30 like a human. What time do you drag your bloated asses to bed if you eat dinner at 7:30?
Nick: On Wednesdays Martin attends the 4:30 Dinner Buffet at Sunnyside Retirement Community.
Young: You can't eat dinner at 7:30 and then go to bed? What fucking time are you going to bed? All bits aside, Martin, why the fuck are you 85 years-old?
Trupe: Martin has to leave time to be languidly bathed, doused in talcum, and swaddled in a robe.
Young: Fucking grow a pair, Wilson. Drink and eat late, then go to bed gassy and regretful.
Nick: Seriously, though, where are we eating?
Trupe: Nick, I have no fucking clue. Thanks for waiting until just over 2 hours before meeting to screw everything up though.
Martin: I am going home to eat with my wife, and you will all miss out on the inestimable pleasure of my company, unless someone emails a dinner plan in the next 6 minutes.
Me: So we're meeting at 7:30?
Trupe: Thanks to everyone who is actively ruining my chances of returning to my favorite bar in the city for the first time in about 9 million years.
Nick: Guys, if it's cool with you I'm going to have dinner at home with my daughters. Katie's making tacos!
Trupe: Nick, explain whether this is a bit or not within the next 15 seconds.
Me: 8:30?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It may be time to shave the beard. It's getting out of control. Plus the weather is warming a little.

Unfortunately, I can't for the life of me figure out where I packed the beard trimmer.

Monday, March 9, 2009

After a week with no internet, a day and a half of lost work, dozens of phone calls (many of them ending in me being disconnected)... the internet is finally working.

It's not worth explaining what the problem was, and frankly no one ever really figured it out. Six different Comcast modems didn't work, but my own old personal modem did (and does). They wouldn't let me use it at first because it was apparently "blacklisted" for reasons no one could explain to me.

ANYWAY... finally a very pleasant and competent customer service woman named Maria was able to get my old modem unblacklisted and immediately everything was working fine. Still no clue as to why none of those other modems worked.

Me: Thank you Maria. Is there anywhere I can call that would be, like... the opposite of a complaint line? Like a compliment line? So I could let people know that you were the person that could fix this for me?
Maria: You could call my supervisor. That would be nice. I get a gift certificate.

She transferred me to her supervisor's phone and I left a message in a voice mailbox with no outgoing message. I hope Maria gets her gift certificate, but I worry that, like so many other things with Comcast, it could easily get lost in the system.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The view from our back deck has a lot of 'Rear Window' potential.

I hope I don't witness a murder.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Every Saturday night Young and I perform in a longform (and long running) improv show called 'Whirled News Tonight.'

Since it was the first time I've seen him since the move I gave Young the keys to the old place backstage before the show.

Young: How's the new place?
Me: Good. How's the old place?
Young: Good. Good. It's a lot different now. Seems like a new place.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Every once in a while the lights in one of the rooms will flicker a little.

The first time it happened Sarah said, "it's haunted," and I said, "a ghost," overlapping each other, both of us making the same joke at the same time.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Parking near the new place is terrible. Not impossible, but terrible. Even during the day there are very few spots anywhere nearby.

In the morning it's easy to forget where you parked the day before. Sudden panic flashes of, "the car's been stolen!" Then, "oh wait, I didn't park here last night, I parked here two days ago.... where the hell did I park last night?"

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

need a hammer

Sarah: Do you have a hammer?
Me: A camera?
Sarah: No, a hammer.
Me: Do I have a hammer?
Sarah: Yes.
Me: No. I don't.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Love You Man

Went to the Brew & View with Tom to see a free advance screening of a movie. Tom and I actually lived together (off and on) for three years in college.

Waiting outside in a long line beforehand, I thought it was embarrassing and funny that it looked like we were here to see a double feature of 'Marley & Me' and 'Twilight.'

What we really saw was 'I Love You, Man' a comedy about the importance of balancing male friendships along with romantic relationships. I don't know if it was all the beers we drank or the fact that I was just happy to not be dealing with any moving stuff, but I enjoyed the movie immensely.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Comcast guy came to set up the cable and internet. Things were actually looking up at first. He showed up on time, seemed like a good dude, and got the cable up and running in two rooms in no time.

This shows how out-of-whack my priorities are, but I felt a burst of giddy excitement when the TV started working in the bedroom, involuntarily dancing a little to the muzak playing on the public access/events bulletin channel.

Sadly, getting the internet to work proved far trickier. At first I found it funny that the cable technician has to deal with the same terrible phone customer service that, well, the customer's do. As I watched the TV in the bedroom flash the words, "Everyone knows that numbers are important," I could hear the cable guy's Russian-sounding voice from the next room saying, "Yes, man, I already turned it off and on. I did that. Still not working."

After a few hours, my amusement wore off and the poor Russian cable guy seemed more and more demoralized. (He was in the apartment twice as long as the whole move had taken the day before.) "I don't know, man, I don't know. It should work. I'm so sorry, man. I have to go. I'm sorry. I'll come back tomorrow, man. It doesn't make any sense."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Moving Day - 9 PM

Drove home with all our new stuff. Spent a half hour trying to find a place to park. Played some video games. Sarah drank a glass of wine. Went to bed.

We're here.

Moving Day - 8 PM


At Target we have trouble agreeing on what plates to get. Sarah likes the red and black ones on the right, but I don't. I like the black and white ones on the left, but she thinks they're too "eighties."

Sarah: Who are you, Patrick... uh... what's the name of the guy from 'American Psycho?'
Me: Bateman.
Sarah: Who are you, Patrick Bateman?
Me: I don't get it.

We eventually agree on the beige-ish plates in the middle.

Sarah: Beige, though? Beige? We're still young, aren't we? Are we beige?

Moving Day - 7 PM

wine opener

Preparing for a trip to Target, Sarah makes a list of things we need to buy for the apartment.

Sarah: I'm not saying we have to get all of these things tonight, but it helps me to write them all down.

Notice she listed "wine bottle opener" twice.

Moving Day - 6 PM


We eat pizza and debate where the TV should go.

Moving Day - 5 PM


Miraculously, despite the terrible conditions, the movers finish within three minutes of their estimated time. I was certain it was going to take longer.


Sarah: We did it! Our place!

Moving Day - 4 PM

not to be confused with 'Snow' CD

One of the movers slipped on the snow and dropped a crate of my old CDs. Cases and booklets everywhere. I was more worried that the guy was hurt but he insisted he was okay.

One of the other movers pointed to an Os Mutantes CD laying on the ground and said something in Spanish that could have been an apology or could have been a general expression of appreciation of Os Mutantes.

Moving Day - 3 PM

snow move

At the new place. It took them about an hour and a half to load up my stuff and an amazing 15 minutes to pack up stuff from Sarah's place.

The weather's getting worse, though, and there's no good route into the new building in this weather. Three stories of snow covered porch steps.

Sarah: I hope they don't think you're taking their picture to document the day for a court case or something.
Me: Shhh.

I tried to kick as much snow off the steps as I could with my feet.

Moving Day - 2 PM


Not much to do but stand around while the movers do their thing. I oscillate through feeling anxious, guilty, excited and awkward. I worry that I'm hovering. I've offered the movers water so many times now that it may be slowing them down.

Moving Day - 1 PM


The movers arrive and the clock starts. It's not cheap, but these movers have been recommended as fast and safe. Still, as they're setting up, it's hard not to spy on them and wonder what they're doing out there.

Sarah: Are they smoking?
Me: No, I think they're moving the truck.

Moving Day - Noon


Back at the old place waiting for the movers to show up.

Young: All I know is, you guys are going to be fucking bored without me.

Moving Day - 11 AM

return to the new place

Got the keys and saw the new place for the first time since deciding to move there.

Sarah: There's not enough closet space. And I hate these blinds.

Moving Day - 10 AM


Eating breakfast sandwiches and staring at boxes.

Moving Day - 9 AM

a bad day for snow

Are you fucking kidding me?!


30% chance of snow.