I'll Bet You Thought I Was Dead!!
Well, sorry to disappoint you...I assure you, though, there was a good reason for my absence from this screen.
Well, on reflection, it's probably not THAT great a reason, but I'm sticking with it because it works for me.
So, when I last talked to you all, I was headed to Milwaukee to open the first night's Pridefest show with The Joans on June 12. I left work at 3:00 and got on the road--the wrong road, as luck would have it. I started out fine on I-90/94 West, but somehow when I got up past Skokie, I made a wrong turn (or rather, I kept going straight when I should have taken a fork in the road) and ended up going north on US 41.
A regular highway.
I stayed on 41 and joined back up to I-94 when I got just past the Wisconsin border. Needless to say, however, my dreams of getting to the festival park by 5:30 were shot to hell.
I got there around 6:30, though, and after hearing the directions to the free parking the event organizers had provided us (which were at least 3/4 mile away), said "fuck it" and just paid $10 to park in the lot across from the backstage area. (Please--I live in Chicago. $10 parking is almost free for me!)
The reason I'm telling you all this is that it's really the most interesting part of the whole evening. The gig went fine, we had a huge crowd (who were all there to see Cyndi Lauper, but so what? We had them for 40 minutes to ourselves!), and there was no tornado chasing off the stage this year, like we had last year. But we didn't get to meet Cyndi, we couldn't even stay in the backstage area or even the back lot once we were finished, and I was damned if I was going to drag my cymbal bag, pedal bag, knapsack and garment bag out to the audience area where everyone could trip over them, and then pick them up and drag them back out to the car at close to midnight. Plus, it was already getting late (9:30) and I was going to Peoria the day after the next, and had stuff I wanted to do, so I drove back to Chicago.
So on Sunday (June 14), I went down to my Aunt Fay and Uncle Jim's to spend the week helping them put on their new roof. Monday was pretty good--not too hot or humid, and we got a lot of the old roof scraped off the back of the house.
Tuesday it rained, so we couldn't get anything done. Wednesday was the first day of The Mighty Inferno (the first day over 90 degrees that I think we've had all year--and it came just in time, didn't it?), but we got more old roof scraped off and tarpaper put down in preparation for the shingles, which arrived at about 4:30. We unloaded the pallets onto the roof. (85 bundles of shingles at 80 pounds each--you do the math. We were tired.)
The next morning at 5:00am, I woke to hear a steady drone on the roof, and realized it was raining. Damn, I thought. We won't be able to work this morning until it passes over. Then I became aware of frantic activity outside my door. I heard small snatches of conversation--just a word here and there. I could make out the words "Jim," "bucket's overflowing," and "fuck!" I went to get up, turned out the bedroom light, and saw water dripping into the room, onto the outlet where our cell phones were charging. Those were unplugged immediately and I went out to try to help.
We had every towel in the house mopping the floors, plus two of my dirty shirts that hadn't gone in the laundry yet. We also had every bucket, pan and kettle set out to catch the water that was coming in.
We didn't catch all of it, of course.
What had happened was that, even though we'd tacked down the tar paper over the seam in the roof, the storm was so strong that it had torn it loose and blown heavy rain underneath it, so it was essentially raining inside the house.
About 7:30, my uncle and I drove into Peoria to buy some big tarps and Menard's. When we got there, we saw that their emergency generator lights were on, and they had water on THEIR floor in the back, too! It really was a hell of a storm.
Friday was clear in the morning. It was my birthday, so I said a special prayer that we'd have clear weather all day long. We did have nice weather all through the morning, and got a lot more done until about 4:00, when the storm came again. (I figure that was God's way of saying, "You made it to 41, even with your lousy habits--don't push it, lush.") So we tarped up the roof and came down.
And watched the rain come in the house again.
We climbed back onto the roof to see what the deal was and realized that because of the way we'd laid the tarps, the rain was running underneath one of them and back into the unfinished part, which was right over the seam in the roof. But it was too late to worry about it, so we went back down and emptied the buckets and waited for it to stop.
Saturday was sunny and bright. We got old roof removed from the whole front of the house, and then I was off to my Dad's for our get-together with my other aunt, my cousin Tonya, my foster-cousin Lana and her two girls. We had a really nice time (and I DID get some video of that, which I will post sometime next week, along with the small bit of Milwaukee video I took--all backstage stuff), and I went back to Fay and Jim's about 6:30, where they had just wrapped up for the day. Shingles were on the front part of the house and it was looking nice!
Apparently, Jim fell while he was on the roof and sprained his ankle, so he couldn't move around too fast. Once he got up and moved for a few steps, he did a little better, but he wasn't going on the roof again THAT day! (Fortunately, he didn't break it. The ankle, I mean...)
The next day was Sunday, the day I had to come home. It's always depressing leaving my family to come back, even though I love Chicago (most of the time, anyway). I'm glad I only live 2 1/2 hours from them, so I can go back whenever I want or need to...
Well, we didn't get the roof all the way finished while I was there, but the bad part (scraping the old roof off) was done, and Jim says shingling is much easier and faster (and it's true--to do an entire portion of a roof only takes a little over an hour). The insurance adjustor came out that following Monday (the 22nd) to look at the water damage from the leaks, so those repairs should be covered.
And I was just glad I was able to go and help them. After all they did for my mom when I couldn't be there to do it, and just because they're great folks, I was glad to do it. It wasn't "restful," but it gave me peace of mind being there and away from the office for a week. Does that make sense?
After I got back, it was time to pack and move our offices to a new building a few blocks south. So I've spent the last few weeks in that drama, too, but we've been in the new space since Monday and it's REALLY NICE. We're on the 43rd floor, too, so we have a hella-great view. We're off today in observance of Independence Day (since it falls on a day when we don't have work).
So, anyway, now I'm back. Sorry there's no fake advice column today, but you'll understand what with packing, moving, and roofing, I haven't had time to think of mean things to say to stupid people who ask for stupid advice.
Next week, though.
OH, AND ONE MORE THING, BEFORE I FORGET:
Happy Belated Birthday to the ever-fabulous Debbie Harry, who turned 64 yesterday.
(I swiped the photo from David Cerda's/aka Davy Joans' Flickr page. I hope he'll understand.)
And by the way, if you're in Chicago, you have to go see POSEIDON! An Upside-Down Musical, which our theatre company, Hell in a Handbag Productions, is mounting again after its initial, fabulously successful 2002 run. I've seen it twice now (managing box office on Thursdays) and it's really a gas! (Love that new Mike Rogo...and Ed Jones as the dippy Nonnie is just a hoot.)