Friday, November 17, 2006

Ignorance Without the Bliss

I'm not saying that I have a lemon of a house, just a house full of them. So far, making the problem list I have a TV, freezer, washing machine, microwave, and a receiver. I also lost some shingles in the 60mph wind gusts that didn't stop all Sunday night. *Rank Up!* At least when I mentioned the roof, in passing, to Steve he volunteered the builder to repair the roof damage. I had no expectation of that. Stupidly, when you call these Best Buy/Circuit City places to make a claim on your serivce agreement you have to go through a video game-type process of qualifying for the prize.

1. Call the store that gave you the warranty.

2. Call the 800 number for the store's national database and get a claim number.

3. The local repairman to calls you for an appointment to look it.

4. Have the repairman call the store's 800 number to confirm that you'd be stupid to not claim the 30 day return policy.

5. Call the store's 800 number to find out that now you have to...

6. Call the manufacturer because their warranty comes first.

7. Have a manufacturer's repairman appoint to confirm the diagnosis of the store's repairman.

8. Wait for the second repairman to give the manufacturer his information.

9. Call the manufacturer to get a case number.

10. Call the store's 800 number to make sure that they get the claim number from the manufacturer.

11. Call the local store to make sure that they have gotten the case number from their 800 number.

12. Call the local store to set up a delivery date for the new appliance.

I added the unlisted step of calling the local store to ask them to go ahead and order my new appliance in hopes of shortening my wait. They don't stock the product (of course!) and they won't pre-order, even if you have family coming for Thanksgiving. My employees are mad at me because I want to spend all of my day on hold and not see patients. Plus, I'm a grumpy bear.

Here are some move-in weekend pics: Ashton obviously didn't know I had a camera in my hand.

The first cooked and shared meal in the house. Yes, I'll have to make a picture for the first prepared dinner in the house and the first baking that happens. Maybe even more.

The house didn't stay a mess long with my Mother Supreme around.

Papa Murphy's pizza is always a hit!

current music: Aimee Mann: Choice in the Matter

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Late night booty calls

Last week I had to interrupt my angst over the impending move with a dental continuing education course in Chicago. (My pimps 'n ho's better know this as Stillwater.) It's a common misconception that "The Windy City" is called so because it's windy. It was nicknamed such because of its long-winded politicians. Lubbock is windier. Even so, it was damn cold and windy!

Driving around in my Cosmos, I made use of the HUD:

I don't know that I'll ever rent a car again without a GPS. I balked when the agent at Hertz wanted to sell me the use of one. In fact, I turned it down completely. I was even miffed when I got to my car and there was one inside. I got in, turned the thing on, and didn't go anywhere without it for the whole trip! I should have thanked the agent when I returned the car, but whatever. Fat chance.

After I checked in and inspected my Heavenly Bed at the Westin, I set out for the idyllic (in my mind) Wrigley Field. I guess the temperature was somewhere around freezing. Does it look that way in the pics? It felt so cold, I swear my hands nearly broke off. It's weird going to a famous place that you're used to seeing on TV. It almost always looks smaller, doesn't it? Here's Waveland Avenue, where Andre Dawson used to deposit his homers:

This is not a pretty stadium from the outside. It *might* make Texas Stadium look good. Maybe not.

I don't know if they were removing sod or installing it. I didn't care to ask because I was ready to get anywhere that wasn't outside, and also for fear that some native Chicagoan would bite my head off for the hell of it.

For lunch, I searched out The Billy Goat Tavern. It's under Michigan Avenue. Strange. You walk along the street and notice no real incline, and all of a sudden there are stairs down to another street. I tried to figure it out with all the walking I did, and couldn't. This joint was made nationally famous on Saturday Night Live by John Belushi. Here is a real video of the cooks, since I couldn't find one of Belushi. If you can catch an old Belushi SNL, you should. They're hilarious.

The Cheeseburger (Double) was simplistically good. They weren't made over an open flame. All it had on it was pickles, mustard and chopped onions. Don't order Dr. Pepper in Chicago. Root beer is the closest thing they've got.

I went from there to South Bend, Indiana. Even though Notre Dame is pretty much on the same ignoble level as A&M and OU, being the lover of the game that I am I couldn't be so close by and not check it out for its historical value alone. If I had been able to get there earlier, I would've been able to visit the College Football Hall of Fame. Here's the Golden Dome way down the street. It was snowing big flakes, a real nice experience.

I got a picture of Touchdown Jesus. Hopefully this means we'll have football in Heaven.

That night I had dinner at Lou Malnati's for a real Chicago-style pizza. It was good, but I'm not a great fan of tomato sauce. There's a lot of that in a deep dish pizza. Ricky-style pizza would invert the tomato paste and mozzerella cheese. Yum! Let's start a restaraunt. I know it'd be a hit. Walking back to the parking garage, I got a picture of the El clacking by.

Friday, I was in Rosemont for a very good class by Gordon Christensen. I went downtown to The Magnificent Mile and shopped (below) for a couple of hours and then attempted to eat at Gene & Georgetti restaurant, since I was dressed casually elegant. Check out the menu. Apparently Frank Sinatra liked this place, and Lucille Ball had been there. I felt out of my element, totally, but since I was alone I decided to just walk around the place and check it out. I saw some hoity toity famosos that didn't have their stage makeup on, and I couldn't tell you who they were. I would've liked to see what a $36.50 steak tasted like, but I decided not to wait on a table. I'd be surprised if I hadn't had one more expensive than that before, but i can't remember where or when. That tells me that I didn't miss out on anything by passing it up and going instead to Parthenon. I had a Greek salad with lotsa big veggies (onions + feta = yummers) and a half order of dolmades. For dinner I ordered something very ethnic, Lamb Amnopita. It was very tangy and stung my ulcerated cheeks, and lamb's just not that wonderful of a meat choice. Otherwise, I bet it was good. It was like a Greek lamb hot pocket.

On Saturday, I checked out of the hotel and drove down for a hot dog at The Weiner's Circle. Chicago is known for its hot dogs? I knew enough to not ask for ketchup on mine. That's taboo. Anyway, if you look very closely, you can see a weiner in there. It's under three slices of tomato, two pickle spears, grilled onions, mustard and some peppers that aren't jalapenos. There's also this "cheddar" cheese (whiz) of a wangy gel on it. It wasn't gross, but it was gaudy and weird, and ultimately, mushy. Boy, those were some good, salty, fries!

They also offer a heapin' helpin' of abuse, which I avoided artfully. The cashier did tell this other guy, who I hope was a native Chicagoan, that "I didn't shove SHIT in front of you!"

It was weird to see such tall buildings everywhere. The whole city consists of 3-5 story buildings shoved up against each other. We're used to seeing open spaces, and things pretty much blended into them. It's neat to visit a place that you can see how as time marched on, they just made it fit. Homes and buildings right up to the train tracks and freeways. I found it charming...unlike the residents.

Here are some views from the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, the Sears Tower. Can you see Comiskey Park and Soldier Field?

Way over yon, the black building, is the Hancock Center. It doesn't look it from here, but it's a very tall building in its own right.

Here's a pic looking up from the base. I think it's black anodized aluminum? Pretty.

I have a picture of Donald Trump's new building/hotel here on the river at Michigan Avenue that will be the second tallest in the city. (I forgot to upload it.) I wonder how much it'll cost to stay there. Michigan Avenue is magnificent. Huge store upon huge store, most with large show windows on the street, or skyscrapers with shops on the first several floors. Stores for everything! I guess it's second only to 5th Avenue in New York for retailers. Here I met the nicest people in Chicago. They were all trying to make sure I didn't want to buy anything, but they were very helpful and nice.

I'd like to go back with friends or family. I uncharacteristically made questionable food choices at the restaurants I visited. I want a re-visit! Fun was had anyway.

current music: Who Da Funk: Shiny Disco Balls