Six Degrees of Ty Pennington

Have you ever heard about something really cool that happens to someone you know? You really feel connected to it, that is, until you try to explain it to someone else. Then you realize that you really stake no claim to the “coolness” whatsoever. It’s like when Andy turned from a rack of CDs in a store once and said, “Hey… did I ever tell you that Cole Marshall’s cousin is Sara Evans?” And I said, “Yep, but really… how impressive is it to say that ‘My best friend’s sister’s step-son’s cousin is Sara Evans?'”

This is one of those times. I just got an email from Andy’s brother Brian. He told us that his old company, Norcon Inc, was selected by the producers at ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to renovate (read: demolish and rebuild) a home for a deserving Chicago family. You have to check this out:

On the show, a family’s home is (almost always) completely leveled and rebuilt by one construction crew and numerous volunteers over 7 days of round-the-clock work. Late last season, I had to finally stop watching the show altogether because I would become an emotional wreck every Sunday night. Same reason I had to stop watching Oprah. I’m a televisional empathizer.

Norcon is a relatively new and relatively small company, and what they lack in size, they make up for in heart. These guys were singled as ABC’s first choice after researching other construction companies in Chicago. Brian used to work for Norcon, and I am married to Brian’s brother. So there. Now if I see Ty Pennington on the street, I’ll have an in. And you all will too, because you know me. And I’m married to Andy, who is Brian’s brother, who used to work for Norcon, who is building a house with Ty Pennington for a local Chicago family.

But I bet you don’t all know Sara Evans’ cousin… :)

Penske Rules, Uhaul Drools

I’m up, but Andy’s still sleeping. My allergies have been bothering me a lot lately and have been functioning as an annoyingly effective alarm clock these past few weeks.

Andy and I are right in the middle of our move right now, and I’m about to pack the computer up. I wanted to get in one last entry. The last one in Illinois ::sob:: The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity, so here’s what we’ve been up to.

Last Friday is now officially known as Murphy’s Law day. It was Andy’s last day of work, and, although a little sad and frightening, all went off without a hitch. I, however, packed a bag and called a cab to take me out to campus. After the cab company called to say they were waiting downstairs, I lost my cell phone. I can’t travel without a cell phone, so I looked and looked and racked up $5.00 in waiting charges in the meantime. When I got to campus, I handed the cabbie a credit card. He handed it back and said, “Nope. Cash money.” Crap. I only had enough to cover cab fare. No tip. I apologized profusely and got out of the cab feeling like a total lame-o.

I walked up to Memorial Stadium to get my cap and gown at 8:45am (a.k.a. 15 minutes before they opened for distribution. I was about the hundredth person in line. By the time I reached the front, they not-so-politely informed me that they didn’t have my name, so I would not be able to pick up a gown. They told me to go home to get my confirmation, bring it back, and THEN they’d give me a gown. No dice. I didn’t have a car, money, or time to get home. I was supposed to get on a bus to Chicago in a half an hour.

Many phonecalls later, it was established that Mom would drive over to Champaign to haggle with the Herff Jones people and I would get on the “bus” to Chicago. The bus turned out to be a 15-passenger van. There were 11 passengers. Four bench seats, two of which held two people and two of which held three people. (One lucky gal got to sit in the front passenger seat). Four hours and many, many iTunes later, I met up with Andy at Woodfield Mall. Happily, from that point on, the day went much more smoothly.

Saturday, we picked up our moving truck. We decided to go with Penske this time, so that we would actually have the correct size of truck ready at the correct location at the correct time. In the past, Uhaul has not been able to meet all, if any, of these three criteria. The truck is a beaut. It’s a 26-footer, which seemed like overkill at the time, but as it gets fuller and fuller it’s looking like it’s going to be about right. It only had 200 miles on it, to boot.

Brandon (a friend from high school) drove up to Andy’s from Naperville to help Andy and Corey move. With three guys, two carts, and an elevator, we were able to load up the truck in a little over three hours. Not bad, not bad at all. We drove down to Champaign, stayed the night, and went to my graduation on Sunday. Sunday night, Andy and I continued to pack my apartment. Yesterday, Andrea and Rachel, two girls from my lab, came over to help move the big pieces of furniture onto the truck. It was cold and rainy again. It only reached 60 degrees! The moving process took all day, until around 5 pm. We went out to a nice long dinner to recharge our batteries, and later we were able to watch our weekly episode of 24. Now it’s time to pack the TV and the computer and get underway. Look out Texas, here we come!

Catch-Up Time!

A lot has gone on this past week, so I figured I’d lump everything into one post.

I finished my thesis… finally… and distributed it to my thesis committee. I’ll defend about a week from now, and after that, I’m home free!

My spring break was last week, and I spent the first half with Andy. We celebrated his 24th birthday last Tuesday at the Cheesecake Factory. The dinner location gave me an excuse not to make a cake for him. I’m still licking my wounds from the homemade yellow cake/sponge atrocity I made for Andy’s birthday last year. How a girl, who spent three summers making at least 40 yellow cakes a day, could churn out such a horrific mess… I will never know! I digress…

I drove to Mom and Dad’s house for the latter half of the week. Andy took a day off work on Friday to help get some groom-inclusive plans finished. We had our pre-marital counseling session with our minister, met with the wedding coordinator through the church, and Andy picked the tuxes for the boys.

News came that Andy’s grandpa Jim passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, so Andy and I had an impromptu visit to Kansas City this weekend. We visited with the family and attended Jim’s memorial service. Andy and I drove back home yesterday, and Andy continued on to his apartment this afternoon. I guess that means that it’s time for things to get back to normal.

Oh yes. After a struggle with additional mice in the apartment, I caught another mouse in a trap and haven’t seen any evidence of the dirty little vermin since!

One Wicked Weekend

Hmmm where to start, where to start. Okay, I know. How about the seminar I gave to all the graduate students in Food Science on Friday? The presentation itself went well. I got a lot of good feedback, which could have been because my slides were well organized and I talked slowly and clearly, but I tend to think it was because I brought in cookies and peanut butter crackers for my audience. I got nailed with questions at the end. My advisor ended up having to answer two for me. That was a low point, but in the end… it’s over!

Fast forward to when I drove home after the seminar. I pulled up to the mailboxes outside my apartment, and, instead of leaving my car door open like I usually do, I shut it behind me (I think you see where this is going) as to not block in the UPS man. And yes, the door was locked, and yes, the car was running. So I’m in the parking lot of my apartment building. The apartment key is locked in the car, and ironically enough, the spare car key is locked in my apartment. I call management, get the key, etc etc, onto the weekend!

On Saturday, Andy and I drove downtown and ordered our wedding rings. I’m pretty excited about that. I picked out a ring that I’m going to wear for the rest of my life in 5 minutes flat. But you know what? That’s the kind of girl I am. Of course, it took longer than that because the jeweler kept showing me different options, but now we’ve got a major wedding thing out of the way. Woohoo!

After that, we met up with my parents and spent the rest of the afternoon shopping around downtown. That evening we got all dooded up and ate out at The Saloon. A steakhouse much like Morton’s, but it’s on street level (i.e. not in a basement) so it had a little lighter ambience. Very nice.

On our way to the restaurant, before we left the hotel, I got nervous and decided to take a bunch of medication with me. Some Pepcid, Imodium, and two Tylenol. I didn’t have a formal purse to match my dress, so I shoved the bare pills into my coat pocket. I said, “I sure hope this pocket doesn’t have a hole in it!” but come on… if you say something like that, doesn’t it like… have to happen? I stick my hand in the pocket and find a big gaping hole. So I now have two Tylenol, two Imodium, and one Pepcid floating around my floor length formal coat. But me being me, I went after them. During the cab ride to The Saloon, I found and extracted every pill, except one Tylenol. Not too shabby! :)

After dinner, we went to see Wicked at the Oriental Theater. Man… it was so good. I’m not even going to try to describe it, but very entertaining and the costuming was just to die for. I knew that Intro to Makeup, Hair, and Costume Design class I took freshman year would pay off! And the theater itself is worth the trip. I have never in my life seen a theater with that much going on on the inside. The walls, the ceilings, amazing.

For the next two weeks, I’ll be writing my thesis. Er go, I will be a lifeless drone staring at a computer screen for 14 hours a day. So take care, everyone, and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks!

He Shoots, He Scores!

I saw my favorite people west of the Mississippi (aka Craig, Susan, and Michael) this weekend! Michael had a Bantam hockey tournament this weekend in the south suburbs. After a slow start, the team ended up taking third place overall. Go Outlaws!

Andy and I had a great time showing them where he’s been living for the past year-and-a-half. They saw his work and his apartment, and we took them out, or should I say Craig took us out, to eat at Baker’s Square (our famous weekly breakfast place) and Giordano’s for deep-dish pizza.

I stayed until early Monday morning, so I could see Michael’s final game, then I had to come back home to Champaign to finish up my seminar presentation for this Friday.

As usual, I brought a camera and didn’t use it. Still… great weekend!