The Value of Impatience: This Chicagoan Votes Early, Just Not “Often”

I hate waiting in lines. I mean, really HATE. IT. I’m convinced the Disney Fast Pass came about when they read my none-too-subtle solution in their suggestion box. One of the greatest perks to working in TV production with Jan Gabriel on his nationally syndicated motorsports series The Super Chargers was getting that elitist, front-of-the-line access at Universal Studios in California, back when Molly Miles was in charge. God, I miss those days. For the 8 hours I was an entitled princess, I kept thinking to myself, “Self, you could really get used to this. And that could be dangerous.”

As a Chicagoan, I’ve exerted enough energy being patient in my life. After all, it’s taken my beloved Chicago CUBS 108 years to get into this World Series. I’ve literally waited my entire life for this moment!

Fortunately, the line to vote today was just 5 people long. All told, I was done in 30 minutes. I highly recommend you vote early. Just get it done. And if you’re voting in Chicago, I hope I don’t need to tell you, but please, do not vote more than once. Here’s a handy, party-agnostic link to find your early polling location: bit.ly/2dPJH3W

Hey, I'm Chicago. I vote early, just not OFTEN (in the same election).

Hey, I’m from Chicago. I vote early, just not OFTEN (in the same election).

I Really Need to Cuddle with Tom Skilling Right Now

Tom Skilling is THE rock star of weathermen. When I learned my friend Ian had interned with him, I pummeled the poor guy with a million questions. Which aftershave does he wear? What makes him laugh? Where does he live? Like Game of Throne‘s Peter Dinklage, WGN’s forecaster Skilling has been the enigmatic source of fascination for me and a few of my friends. But today, I just need to cuddle with Tom Skilling. Preferably beneath a bed. Also, that bed needs to be in a deep basement. I need Tom’s reassurances that everything is going to be just fine. Here’s why:

Dude...we are SO screwed right now.

Dude…we are SO screwed right now. (Image courtesy of U.S. National Weather Service Chicago.)

After Hurricanes Ivan (which wiped out our Florida home) and Dennis, weather anxiety has become a thing with me. Dave Dorman and I lost too much. I’ve never recovered from the panic it caused me. It even prompted our move back to Illinois. This, despite me being a sturdy Midwesterner. I’m accustomed to death-defying weather like the Blizzard of ’79, where snowmobiles were racing down Michigan Avenue. I lived here during the 1990 Plainfield tornado, so devastating it made the cover of PEOPLE magazine.

Prior to my hurricane experiences, the weather unglued me only once. I was unaware my next-door condo neighbors had just installed surround sound. They were watching the movie Twister” at what I’m guessing was 11–the loudest volume. My entire condo was vibrating. As Helen Hunt was diving into the storm cellar on their TV next door, I was bending myself into a frickin’ pretzel, trying to squeeze behind my spiral staircase to certain safety. I couldn’t reconcile why, from my cramped vantage point, I was peering out at blue skies through my transom windows. Post torna-faux, we all had a good laugh about it. (If only they’d watched Jurassic Park, like most folks with new surround sound at that time. I probably wouldn’t have freaked over an impending T-Rex attack.)

So..before Hurricane Ivan, I never gave weather forecasts a second thought. I scoffed at the old farts for whom the Weather Channel was their MTV (yes, I’m old enough to use MTV metaphors). All that changed when Jim Cantore suddenly appeared on our TV screen, reporting from two miles down the road. Like a bad horror movie, at that exact moment, our power was cut. We were sitting in inky, black darkness. We couldn’t even see our hands in front of our faces. The winds howled from the depths of hell. It was the longest, most terrifying wait for dawn I’ve ever known.

Now I sit. And I wait. The eerie stillness outside like the mosquito who has ominously stopped buzzing. It’s about to hit the fan, folks.

I get it. Chicago needs Tom Skilling in studio right now, reporting the weather. But I also need Tom, my weather teddy bear, here. Reassuring me. Beneath the bed. Preferably in my basement.

 

 

 

 

L.A., I am IN You…

As I write this, I’m staring out the 12th-story window of my hotel room on Highland Avenue at the “Hollywood” sign. There’s an energy to California that I always feel the moment my feet touch the ground. Maybe it’s the I’ve-been-deprived-for-6-months rays emanating from that orange, fiery ball in the sky (what is that sphere, anyway? A sun or something?). Maybe it’s an impending earthquake. It just feels like it heightens my already high energy. Maybe it’s the uber-creative friends I always hang with in Cali. I feel so happy here. The only thing that could top off this glorious feeling would be if I had my merry band of Kotex Mafia to share this with me–Marovich, the Sister Wives, the S.H.I.T. Club. God, we’d have a blast. In a perfect world…

We’re here in L.A. because Dave Dorman is a judge for the Writers & Illustrators of the Future Awards a prestigious award for the sci-fi and fantasy community. Last night, part of the fun was an art salon at Cliff Nielsen’s studio. He did a sci-fi retro theme for the live models (blasting 1960s James Bond soundtracks in the background as we sketched–I was in sensory heaven) so here’s my graphic-covered southpaw after a 10-minute sketch:

10-Minute Art Jam, Southpaw Style

10-Minute Art Jam, Southpaw Style

And here are the wonderful models:

Wonderful models from Cliff Nielsen's Art Salon

Wonderful models from Cliff Nielsen’s Art Salon

Today I join our X-Files actor friend Dean Haglund, who is HILARIOUS (if you’ve never seen him do stand-up comedy, do yourself a favor and be sure to find where he’s performing) for his downtown LA walking tour. It will be a total riot, I guarantee you. Between my penchant for attracting society’s oddballs and Dean’s out-of-left-field running commentary, this could get interesting…

Now, let’s talk briefly about how California fruit growers are holding out on us. I mean seriously, they do not share their highest quality level of produce with those of us outside of Cali (a California friend told me this long ago, and I didn’t believe him until I saw the berries from our $127 breakfast this a.m.–I think me adding smoked salmon to my egg white omelette was the costly tipping point.) Why, yes! That is a QUARTER next to my blueberry, black raspberry, and raspberry:

Look - these berries were radiated on Gilligan's Island!

Look – these berries were radiated on Gilligan’s Island!

And hotels–what’s with hiring Dracula as your guest rooms interior designer? The gray and silver aesthetic for our room is way too similar to the New Mexico cult compound from TV’s “The Dig,” an aesthetic co-creators Tim Kring and Gideon Raff discussed openly as making people feel cold and uncomfortable. Which it does.

Actress Lauren Ambrose amidst the cold, sterile interiors from the cult compound on USA Network's "THE DIG" TV series

Actress Lauren Ambrose amidst the cold, sterile interiors from the cult compound on USA Network’s “THE DIG” TV series

If you’re in the market for ugly curtains, er, window dressings, I know right where you can find some…

Someone Went Shopping at "Ugly Curtains R Us"...

Someone Went Shopping at “Ugly Curtains ‘R Us”…

As a final thought, my prayers go out to those who were hit by the twisters in Northern Illinois last night, way too close to our home. I was comforting our frantic-bordering-on-hysterical son on the phone from here as he was hiding in the basement during last night’s terrifying storm. (Unfortunately, I know first-hand how butt-puckeringly frightening it is to be hit by a tornado while you’re in your house after our Hurricane Ivan adventure in Florida.)

Stay tuned as my wildly fun and unpredictable weekend unfolds…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Care & Feeding of a Comic Book Husband: A Field Guide for Dave’s Next Wife

What a week it’s been! Between double-checking our Kraft Macaroni & Cheese boxes for metal shavings, Jack’s parent-teacher conference (Every.Single.Teacher.Complained…about Jack’s class clownery–yes, my DNA runs strong in the young Padawan), and getting the news that the friend we call “Texas” is moving to Colorado, it’s a good thing my addictions veer towards sugar-free Bubble Yum and reading. It would have been a rough week to come out of rehab.

After racquetball with BFF Marovich on Sunday–me still with no wins to report, although we played the same 16 to 6 point for six rounds and invented a new rule about laughter hindrance–Marovich and I reflected on the fact that she has, in fact, become my de facto husband. I had asked Dave for three solid weeks to fill my windshield washer fluid, hoping against all hope that the warning light would drive him crazy, too. Not so much. Marovich couldn’t bear it any longer. So, she did it for me. She was astounded that it needed more than 1 container of washer fluid, deeming it some technical mechanics term – something like “bone dry.” Marovich will probably be climbing on a two-story ladder (she actually owns one) to change my foyer lightbulbs for me as well. She’s brave like that. After all, she installed her own sump pump this past weekend, which impressed me no end. She insists I could have done it, too, but I’m way too ADD to sit through any DIY YouTube video on sump pumps unless Peter Dinklage is the on-camera talent.

Marovich and her sump pump, and some weird tool that looks like a bicycle chain.

Marovich and her sump pump, and some weird tool that looks like a bicycle chain.

Most weekends, when people with husbands/partners get that “honey do” list tackled, Dave’s usually out of town for comic book conventions. I’m not complaining–I love having the house to myself–and even if Dave were in town, it wouldn’t matter. It makes no difference to Dave if it’s a weekday or a weekend. Every day is the same. He’s still working, napping, and online gaming, so no honey do lists will ever be tackled. No vacations will ever be taken (that aren’t somehow connected to a working trip). Jack will never learn camping or fishing from Dave. None of my hilarious family gatherings will ever be attended (by Dave). As will happen after 15 years of togetherness, aside from a few hours a week of shared TV watching, and the occasional exchange over work-related issues, we lead very decidedly separate lives. And so it occurred to me, after talking with Marovich, that if something ever happened to me, the next spouse should have a field guide for how to manage Dave. And by “manage,” I guess I really mean “co-exist with,” because there’s truly no managing involved. The one thing I’ve learned since meeting Dave in 1999 is, you simply can’t manage an immovable mountain. So here are some helpful tips.

#1. This will be your foyer for at least five days after Dave returns from a show.

We're on Day #3 of the foyer looking like this, post SC Con.

We’re on Day #3 of the foyer looking like this, post SC Con.

 

No, you’re not allowed to actually move this stuff out of the way. Dave has a very specific way he wishes to unpack the suitcase, so you must not touch it. Or move it. Just learn to accept it’s part of the landscape. Trust me, after a while, you won’t even see it anymore.

#2. Your vehicles will never be parked in your garage. (Mind you, this wasn’t so bad in Florida, but if you, too, will be living in Chicago where snow and ice are a factor, this may drive you crazy.) Despite two industrial-sized dumpsters in the last 12 months, our garage is absolutely filled to overflowing with floor-to-ceiling empty cardboard boxes. I’m too embarrassed to even share an image of it.

#3. If you love fruit, nuts, and vegetables, you’re eating on your own. (I marvel at the fact that despite growing up in Hawaii, Dave never developed a taste for pineapple. I mean seriously, WTF?!?). Oh, and don’t even think about cooking cabbage in the house you share with Dave. We always pray he’s traveling on St. Patrick’s Day.

The foods you'll be eating on your own.

The foods you’ll be eating all on your own.

#4. Burning candles are a no-no. Dave’s heightened olfactory nerves cannot bear the scent of a match or a candle being burned out. Birthdays are really fun around here!

The rest of this lengthy list will reside with Marovich and The Sister Wives for safe keeping. Just ping them on this blog in the event of my demise and share your email. They will get back to you. Be sure your printer ink cartridges are new, and you have plenty of paper loaded. In fact, better yet, forward it to Fed Ex Kinko’s so you can get the list printed and bound.

What in the Wide, Wide World of Sports is Going On?!? Dodgeball Has Gotten Wimpy

I avoid living vicariously through my son, but not when it comes to Dodgeball. I signed him up through the park district, and okay, I’ll admit it–it might’ve been because I heard adults could play, too–so last night was our introductory session. Jack was reluctant to play. That is, until he quickly realized that together, he and I make a viable force–serious contenders. I’m no athlete, but there are four exceptions: Dodgeball, Four-Square, Racquetball and Tennis. If it has a ball, I’m IN, and I play with PASSION. So does Marovich, which is one of her many great BFF qualities.

One of my favorite movie scenes was this one (link below) with Justin Long and Vince Vaughn in the movie Dodgeball–a catchphrase I like to repurpose a lot: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMWdnkSMPGM

My favorite scene from DODGEBALL: "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball."

My favorite scene from DODGEBALL: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”

My “Sister Wife” friend Maura snapped some photos of me last night. I called Marovich this a.m. admitting that images existed, but that I wasn’t about to send them to her. “Tell you what,” she coaxed ever-so-smoothly, “Just send them over… I’ll decide whether or not they’re blackmail material.” That Marovich. Always thinking.

Marovich and I loved Dodgeball as kids. We were reminiscing about playing over the phone, and she reminded me how she “used to love it when someone wasn’t looking and (I) could nail them right in the head!” I had the unpleasant task of informing her that head shots are no longer allowed. “What the shit is THAT?!?” she sneered, in sheer disgust. I agree. We’re raising a nation of wimps clad in bubble wrap, hovered over by helicopter parents.

I don’t know if it’s just our park district, but the red, rubbery balls I remember fondly from childhood are no longer used in today’s version of Dodgeball. Now they use these lightweight, spongy wimp balls that don’t deliver the leverage I like for hitting hard.

So Marovich and I are now in hot pursuit of an Adult Dodgeball League. This may be our last middle-aged gasp at going for the gold. Dare I hope (Dare, dare…) that there’s a Dodgeball Olympics?!? 

My Dad, the Cover Model

Well, at least the backside of him was…Dad was always up for anything I threw at him, and on this particular occasion, I was doing the creative for three Business-to-Business direct mail pieces for my client GROHE, a high-end German faucet company. This piece was called “Plumbers’ Helpers,” targeted towards plumbers. Dad had no objections to posing with his favorite grandson, Jack. Of the three direct mailers I did, this one–with Dad as the hand model–got the most responses. The photographer was my BFF since Kindegarten, Darlene Nauman.

Jack and Dad in a GROHE ad.

Jack and Dad in a GROHE ad.

The test photo - stunt butts in action!

Stunt butts in action: Photography by Darlene Nauman