Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Busiest Day Off Ever

Another crazy-busy, but productive day off of work.

One of the things that I've loved about all of these changes in my life is that it's allowed me to switch most of my transportation to public transit. To that end, I bought a 30-Day CTA pass. What a deal-- it's $75 for, obviously, 30 days. It kicks in the first time you use it. I'd been using a pass I got where you add value and take it off every time you use it. One of the things about having an unlimited pass is that it encourages you to use it even when not just using it to go to work.

Thanks to the CTA pass, I was able a good chunk of my day on the bus and el running errands. First and foremost, I had to go exchange my textbook for the correct one. I hopped on the bus that runs a block from my house, and is a straight shot five minute ride to the city college branch that I'll be taking my Biology class at, as well as the nearby Beck's bookstore. I quickly exchanged for the proper book, which is damned near the size of a phone book, and got on the el less than a block away to run up to Evanston to get my ailing laptop. I grabbed my Ibook and went back into Chicago.

I ran down to the Paulina el stop, where I killed three birds with one stone. First, I needed to pick up a new sticker for my license plate. Mine's running out at the end of the month, and I wasn't confident that if I mailed it in that it would get back in time. I went to the Currency Exchange I've been doing business with for nearly 20 years. I'll tell more about that place another time. In any event, I got the sticker, and walked up Lincoln Avenue to Whole Foods. There, I finally found, in a freezer, what I'd heard they carried: gluten-free bread.

Last night, I had another of my dreams that I was eating a sandwich. I loved sandwiches and used to pretty much live on sandwiches. I've mentioned in previous blog posts that I dream frequently about eating sandwiches, something I can't do since I found out I have Celiac disease, a genetic allergy to wheat and other grains.

I decided I'd had enough. I had a few minutes to kill before I picked up my stepdaughter so I finally took the time to find the non-gluten bread that Whole Foods was rumored to have. It was nearly five bucks a loaf, so I hoped it would be good. Plus, a bonus: they had Artizuri, the wine Kim brought to our first date (it was a BYOB place). I grabbed a bottle-- a 2004, appropriately-- our first date was in November, 2004, right after the election.

I got Mel and we went to wait for the bus. It occurred to me that it would be my seventh bus or el ride of the day.

We got home and Mel went to work on a DVD project for an upcoming family celebration. I went to the kitchen to start cooking dinner for everyone.

And to have a sandwich. It was everything I'd dreamt of.

Last night, work was, as they say in the old country, "balls to the wall." I had a back section that would normally have been a little slow. It was crazy busy last night. I made, last night, about 2/3's of what I would make in a week as a teacher. The reviews have obviously been working their magic.

As I left work, I was walking past the inexpensive little Italian place around the corner that the other servers had told me they met at after a lot of shifts, and saw that about a dozen people I'd worked the shift with were in there. They waved me in, insisting that it was my initiation. I had one glass of wine with them; the last couple of trains on the Brown Line were coming in the next 20 minutes or so.

I'm glad I stopped in, though. I've discovered that I work with a very nice group of people. They're mostly, like me, doing this as a way to what they want. Lots of actors. And lots of students, like me. I ended up talking to Christine and David, a couple of people at the restaurant who took me under their wings. They told me that I'm well-liked there, and that regarding the couple of people I've had trouble with, everyone has trouble with them.

I was telling Kim tonight that I've had a backache for the last week and a half. I don't get headaches-- I get a headache in my back. For some reason, if I'm under a lot of stress, I get a pain in my lower back rather than my head. It's finally clearing up, as of last night.

I heard from my mechanic today. My Blazer should be ready tomorrow. The air conditioner will be fully charged, transmission fluid replaced, oil changed, a leak in the rear differential fixed, and the motor in the passenger-side window fixed. Yeah, you spend money on a used car, but in the end, I spend on repairs, in a year, what I'd spend on two payments on a new car.

Tomorrow starts possibly four days of doubles, then up to Minnesota to see my in-laws.


'Bubbles' said...

If the doubles happen and we don't hear from you before... have a safe and fun trip to MN!!

Things sound like they are really taking off and moving great, JY! Congrats!!

Stephanie said...

If you have any questions, feel free to email me, I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and I'm a Chemistry teacher, so, if you need help :)

Skylers Dad said...

You are one busy dude JY! Take care of yourself so you don't burn out my friend.

Bubs said...

Yikes, you're busy! You know, that lower back pain could be a result of being on your feet so much as a waiter, and the kind of shoes you're wearing. Seriously, I got orthotics put in my running shoes and my back and legs feel much better.

I miss riding the el.

GETkristiLOVE said...

I know it's not very manly, but I take hot baths when my lower back aches. Maybe you can put in a hot tub in the white trash backyard?!

Andi said...

That's something that I'm really envious of, actually: public transportation. In TX (and here in NC as well) things are so spread out, even in big cities like Dallas or Raleigh, that it's almost impossible to use public transportation to get errands done. In Dallas, the DART train runs to a dozen suburbs and has a number of stations around downtown and Dallas proper, but things are still so spread out that it's damn near impossible to function without just getting in the car and driving. Blarrg. I would love the extra time to read and get things done on the train. Unfortuately, I haven't mastered reading while driving just yet. I'll get back to you if I do, though. :)

SamuraiFrog said...

It sounds like yesterday was a good kind of busy, which is always nice.

Man, I hate Minnesota. Every time I've been there, it was a nightmare.

Evil Genius said...

I was furious when I moved to DC and found they had no sort of monthly deal or breaks for commuters on the Metro. They have an all day pass for tourist, though! It has taken me four years to stop saying "El" and "Dominic's" and start saying "Metro" and "Safeway." I am still not happy about it.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I miss living in a city large enough to get around by bus. Thanks for riding and helping to save our planet while you did.

MacGuffin said...

Johnny, you've got to slow down a bit, you're making me feel morbidly lazy!

Erik Donald France said...


Reminds me of Warren Zevon's suggestion as he was on the way out:

"Enjoy every sandwich." I keep repeating this line, but here it seems more appropriate ;)

Distributorcap said...

when do you find time to do anything!

well Chicago is a bargain - the 30 day Metrocard in NY is $76 for 30 days! (but since they allow you to buy it pre-tax.......I hope they allow you to do that)

Beth said...

I need a nap just reading this post.

Natalie said...

Distributorcap made me laugh because I would love to spend that extra $1 on a monthly pass for the level of service the MTA provides. I drool at the thought of an NYC caliber transit system. That being said, I heart my 30day pass.

Have a blast in MN, it did me well last week. It was cold though. Bring a sweater.