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December 24th, 2006:

Backtracking just a little– our trip to Chicago

I just wanted to backtrack a little– last week we went to Chicago to visit with Stephanie’s family for Chanukkah. Her family has a huge to-do about Chanukkah, with a traditional dinner, the traditional opening of the presents, and a lot of other events.

While we were there,we had a very busy social schedule, which was a lot of fun– a synagogue visit to the huge Chicago reform visit Sinai, where they worship on Sundays and on the second night of Chanukkah they lit all of the lights because it would be more beautiful… I mean, why not just worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster because you find it more festive? (And of course, the secret thrill of being touched by his noodly appendage.)

We also went to the first birthday party of Stephanie’s best friends daughter Lana. It was held at a traditional Russian banquet hall, which was in a strip mall area in the Northern Chicago Suburbs. The food was lavish, and the party was fun (although I don’t speak Russian at all, and that was the main language spoken. Lana translated all of the many toasts for us.)

I got some very thoughtful gifts from Stephanie’s parents, including some old clown posters that are going to look great in the kitchen!~– errr… well, my studio, if I can ever get it finished….

One of the things that was pretty interesting is that just about everyone at the big Channukah dinner had read our blog, and knew all sorts of details about the house that I’d forgotten that I’d written down. It was nice to be among our family and readers…

An alarming incident…and a thermostatic one also.

We had a disturbing alarm incident, where it turned out that the low battery signal from our third floor smoke detector may have been a faulty smoke detector, as replacing the batteries did not assuage the situation. We had ADT come out and replace the smoke detector. (Of course, everything worked properly when he was here) The technician, a burly guy with a thick Russian accent, kept on asking “Floor is original, yes? How old is house? What kind wood is that? You have big house.” Not sure if he was also studying for his real estate license, or just had an interest in old houses. Anyway, he was a marked improvement from the last security guys that we had here, who accidentally drilled through our thermostat line, requiring our heating installer to come back out and charge us money to replace it. Which leads us to the next little contractor incident:

It turns out that Eversafe Security, our alarm installer, which promised me that they would pay our heating installer his charge for fixing the thermostat, has not paid yet, even though it happened 9 months ago. We discovered that little fact the hard way, when our Thermostat didn’t seem to be doing what it was supposed to be doing. We called our oil company, who checked everything out and decided the thermostat must be defective. We called K & S (heating installer) to get a new one and they didn’t return our calls. The next day I got the unpaid invoice from them from March.

It looks like I need to pay that invoice and then try to collect blood from the stone that is Eversafe. The worst part is I no longer have a stick to beat them with– they sold our maintenance contract to ADT. I guess I am just going to have to call them everyday until they crack.

In the meantime, K & S eventually did come out (I wasn’t here, but S says that the guy raved about the house and what we’ve done, especially with the kitchen.) And to add insult to injury, apparently the guy from our heating company was wrong– the thermostat was not faulty.

Been busy with Bright Night, haven’t had time to write

I apologize to our readers who have been looking forward to updates about our Yonked existence. I’ve been subsumed by my work on Bright Night Providence, the New Year’s Eve Festival in Providence that I’m responsible for. This year has been the test year to see if I can run it from far away, and the answer is “Yes, it is definitely possible. It just takes even more energy!”

Most of my work for the festival (fundraising, artist-hiring, organizing) can take place just about anywhere. But you have to have meetings with people, and that means travelling to RI to do it. It’s about 3 hours there (less without traffic or stopping for gas or other errands) and I don’t mind driving it at all– although driving is more tiring than it should be. I get to listen to my ipod, the radio, and of course talk to the throngs of people I need to talk to to get the festival on track.

This year the festival is going to be very good– with a huge focus on magic and circus. If you are in the area, I suggest checking it out.

As for the Yonked house itself, well, let’s make a couple of more posts about that….