Resolution (Conclusion)

When last I left you, I had signed a lease for my new apartment, and things were looking up.  And for the most part, they kept looking up.  Minus a few setbacks, of course.  

But instead of rehashing all the drama step by step, I’ll just summarize and say that I am all moved in and settled.  I love my new apartment.  It’s spacious, clean, and there is actually more room here than I even guessed.  Of course, that has a lot to do with how much crap I purged before I moved — and believe me, I purged a LOT of crap.  

So how did I get to this point?  Here’s the summary….

1. My deal with the old apartment – The rental company kept my check and cashed it, even though I asked them not to, which set off a domino effect of problems.  It created a ton of stress for me, but it all got worked out in the end.  Especially since I had already signed a lease for my new apartment by then.  

2. Moving Day – I ended up hiring a U-Haul, and also hired two guys to help move, in addition to the wonderful help I received from four friends of mine.  I don’t know what would have done without them.  The day itself was as bad as it could possibly have been.  It was pouring rain almost all day long, and when I woke up in the morning that day (I barely slept as it was), I still didn’t know where to pick up my truck.  I called U-Haul at about 7:30 in the morning and they told me I had to pick it up at 7am and bring it back by 1pm.  HA.  Fat chance.  They didn’t see the mound of boxes I had stacked up and the number of furniture items I had.  

So I picked up the truck in the pouring rain and drove it back home.  One by one my friends arrived, and then the movers arrived.  I tell you, these guys were amazing.  They strapped so much stuff on their backs it made MY back hurt.  And they just kept going and going.  

At one point, my friend Bradley looked at me and said, “Rick, you really need to dump some of this stuff.”  I knew it, too.  And so I started throwing things away.  I didn’t even look inside boxes or crates– I just dumped it.  You see, in my family, we are, by nature, pack rats.  So it’s hard to part with stuff.  Well when push comes to shove, that trait goes out the window.  And in the end, I’m very glad that it did.  

I finally got all moved into my new place– save for a few more things left behind that I would pick up the next day.  Another friend called after everyone had gone home and asked if I needed help, so he came by and we set up my bedroom so I could sleep that night. And once we were done and had unloaded and unpacked a few more things, I had a bed to sleep on at last.  

I had one major casualty in the move: my sofa.  It would not fit in either door, no matter how hard we tried.  But it was pretty well destroyed anyway, (the cats had done their work on it over the years, both as a scratching post and, at one bad point in time, as a litter box!) so I was not exactly sad to see it go.  

3. The cats – My friend Rafael watched the cats for me while the move happened, so they didn’t have to be around for all the craziness.  When I took them back home, I wasn’t quite sure how they would react to the new surroundings, but they have absolutely LOVED it right from the start.  I think being away from their “things”  for so long made them very happy to be back, no matter where it was.  They are loving seeing new and exciting things out the windows, and finding new places to run and hide.  

So overall, the move went well, and I am very happy here.  I finally took some pictures the other day, and they are below.  From here, new adventures begin.  We’ll see where this all leads me.  Thanks for all of your support and encouragement through all of this — It was a really awful experience at the beginning, but it turned out to be a wonderful outcome in the end.

Bedroom from door

The Pink Bathroom - Sink

Kitchen - from hall

Living Room - From Entry

Dining Area

Living Room - Shelves

Living Room - Desk

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Resurrection (Part 3)

So now I’m on Plan D… and I’m not loving the idea by any means. Obviously, the Kenosha option would be temporary. I’d live at home, save some money, get back on my feet, and start out again. It’s the whole getting back home thing that seemed to be more of a problem. As would getting to and from work, as I wasn’t about to leave my job anytime soon.

I started scouting Metra train routes to and from Kenosha into Chicago. I found that it could work– better than I had originally thought. It would mean a lot of planning and a lot of hours on a train… but if I had to do it, I could do it.

Then I started investigating moving options. My original thought was to store most of my stuff in Chicago and move only the necessities to Kenosha… or else just move everything and store it in my mom’s garage. That wasn’t ideal, but it was better than nothing. So I called up a moving company that I knew would go across the state line and I got a price quote for the move.

$5,000.

I almost shit my pants. They had to be kidding me. I mean, I have a lot of stuff, but $5,000 was preposterous. At the same time I plotted that strategy, I had them price a move within city limits. They came back with $975. No frickin’ way. So clearly, I was not hiring these movers, and I most certainly was not moving all my stuff back to Kenosha. I wasn’t sure what to do next.

I must have posted something to Facebook about my dilemma, because an hour or two later, I got a reply from a chorus friend who told me that he wasn’t going to let me move back to Kenosha, and he knew of a couple apartments that his landlord had available. We chatted a bit, and described them to me. The rents sounded good, but the location wasn’t ideal. At this point, though, I was willing to try anything — anything other than moving all the way to Wisconsin.

As it turned out, only one of the units was available, and it was the unit he had been doing rehab work on for the past few months. I went over to take a look. At first sight, it was obvious there was a lot of work left to be done, but the funny thing about me is, I am able to look beyond the buckets, plaster, ladders, hammer and nails and see what a place will look like when it’s done — and I liked what I saw.

The unit is a garden unit, and is a one-bedroom. The living room would double as a dining room, but it’s big enough that it could also house my office area. The floor in the living room and bedroom would be carpeted– which would be different for me, but I could handle it. The ceilings were tall– higher than most garden units I’d seen. The bedroom is smaller than my current one, but would fit my essential furnishings with no problem. The kitchen, by far, is my favorite room. It’s big, open, and was being extensively rehabbed. New ceramic tile floors were laid, and a new counter was going in on one wall, to compliment the counter and cabinets that already existed– lots of storage. A new stove was being ordered, but the fridge was staying, and that was okay– it’s a full-size fridge. The sink was the only downside. It’s a single sink. I currently have a double. And no dishwasher. But I saw the potential… I could make it work.

The bathroom gave me pause. The tile is pink, with green trim. At first sight, I hated it, but my friend said it might have to stay, so I looked past it. The more I think about it, the more I think I can make it work. I can play up the kitsch factor on that one.

The rest of the place has a lot of charm. There is an arched opening between the kitchen and the living room that I love, and the living room has arched knicknack shelves built into the walls. The ceiling of the living room has an area that is raised higher, creating a set-off area that I really like. I could see a Christmas tree going there easily. The windows are brand-new, just installed, and they are ‘regular’ windows, not tiny, glass-block windows like I had seen in many other garden units. Plus– and this is what sold me — electric is included, because the unit is wired to the main circuit for the building. I was ready to sign a lease right then and there.

So I applied for the place, and after some back and forth with the landlords (who are really nice guys–brothers–who live on the third floor), I signed a lease.

I felt a wave of instant calm. Things were finally falling into place. All the pain and headache I had experienced was soon to be a memory– albeit a bad one.

But things weren’t over just yet…

(Part four coming soon…)

Rick has avoidance issues…

OK so I’ve been avoiding my blog.

It’s not because I dislike it or anything… I don’t.  I just dread writing lately.  I worry that I may start a post and never finish it (because that’s NEVER happened before.  Ha ha.)  I worry that I may write too much and nobody would want to read it.  And I worry that I really have nothing to say, after all.

Well, that’s a lie.  I have plenty to say.  In fact, there have been numerous subjects on which I could have said volumes, including Proposition 8, Obama asking Rick Warren to do the invocation at the Inaguration, the holidays, New Year’s Eve and much, much more.  But as time wore on, those subjects either got old or compounded upon each other, and were relegated to the column of “old news.”  

So I’ve decided to sum up some of those things here, and maybe — just maybe — I can start 2009 with a clean slate and go on from here.  So here we go….

Proposition 8 – Clearly, this was a disappointment, and clearly, the GLBT community spoke up and spoke up loudly.  I was touched and moved by the uprising, but I did not participate in any of the protests.  Why?  Well, I missed the first one in Chicago because I already had plans to see my mom that day.  And the second one (which protested the Cinemark theatre in Evanston for its CEO’s contribution to the Yes on 8 fund) was right after the funeral of a dear friend and I just wasn’t up for it.  But the real reason is because, in my heart of hearts, I just didn’t feel the same.  All this clamoring for the title of “marriage” to be used across the board doesn’t sit well with me.  Yes, I want the same rights for all people, and yes I want that equality whether I’m gay, straight or anything… but I feel like we are so focused on the word “Marriage” that we can’t see any other possibilities.  I’m hoping that something good comes of all this in the future … and the possibility that Prop 8 (and the other props in Florida and Arizona) is overturned is still out there — but until then, I wish we could regroup and really think about what we want… and do it right this time.  

Rick Warren – No sooner than this announcement was made, GLBT people were shouting “FOUL” and “BETRAYED” and calling Obama a traitor, worrying that he would do to us what Clinton did with “Dont’ Ask, Don’t Tell.”  I, however, looked at it as a positive.  Yes, the man is evil and has said some terrible things about our community… but the fact that he is there, among Democrats who believe and want everything he doesn’t… is significant.  I truly think his presence there will not have such a profound effect on anything at all.  It is merely a presence.  It actually speaks louder to his ability to see other views than anything else.  Obama isn’t going to alienate what he believes in because of who he asks to give an invocation.  So I kept silent on the issue– until now.  I know my view is not popular amongst my peers… but that’s just how I feel.  

And now on to more fun things…

The Holidays were a joy.  Christmas Day with the twins was full of laughter and love, and the girls were absolutely adorable.  They’ve reached the age where they can actually laugh and enjoy the holiday… and to see them with their toys was so much fun.  For those of you on Facebook, I have pictures up of them opening their gifts and playing with them, here and here.  

And finally, New Year’s Eve was a great time.  I went to my friend Ricardo’s for dinner, and we all shared our goals for 2009 and what we learned in 2008… it was an emotional and sweet moment when each of us professed our love for each other, as friends and as family.  I’ve said it before – I have some of the most wonderful friends a guy could ask for.  I love them dearly.  Afterwards we proceeded to Sidetrack to ring in the new year — the first time I had been to a bar for New Year’s Eve in many years.  I had a great time, and I think 2009 will be a really wonderful year for all of us.

So that’s about it.  Here we are, the first Monday of 2009.  Everyone is back to work, and life continues on from this point.  I’m grateful to be employed, and thankful to be alive and well.  In this day and age, what more can you ask for?

So to all of you, a happy and healthy new year.  It’ll be DIVINE in 2009! 🙂

Well Hello!

Howdy! It’s been a while since I’ve actually written anything here. The last week or so has been so incredibly busy I haven’t had much time to do anything except work, come home, and crash from exhaustion. Hopefully this coming week will be better.

So how about some updates? Great idea, right? Well here we go:

1. I never wrote him back.
2. I’m broke. At least until pay day. Which is next Tuesday.
3. I’ve been pretty healthy overall.
4. Autumn has arrived in Chicago. Brr! Time to break out the sweaters!
5. The Cubs are starting the playoffs tomorrow. Yay!
6. I watched the debates on Friday. Obama did well, but I wish he’d stop agreeing with McCain and get a whole lot tougher.
7. McCain whistles while he talks. He needs better denture adhesive.
8. Tina Fey is a goddess.

9. I forgot that this was about me, sorry.
10. The Chorus show is coming along nicely. I have an audition this week.. wish me luck!
11. My favorite TV shows have started up again… thank goodness for the fall season.
12. I’m still not dating anyone.
13. This looks like it’s quickly turning into a “100 Things About Me” list. It’s not, I promise.

*Yawn* … Good morning!

So, I’m back from my hibernation, and it was a lovely rest.

And things look different.  Again.

You’ll see that I have once again changed the look of The Launching Pad.  You’ll also notice that the name of The Launching Pad has changed.  I’m all about change.

Summer is drawing to a close, and I’ve been getting the itch to blog again.  So I took a look at things and decided it was time to do some house-cleaning… again.  If you’ve visited here before, you’ll notice that the sidebars are gone. There’s nothing but posts and comments, folks.  It’s clean and neat and to the point – just the way it should be.  I took the inspiration from the Tumblelog movement that is occurring – I figured why re-invent the wheel– just re-tool it a little bit.

Of course, if you REALLY want all that sidebar goodness, just hover over “Navigation” at the top and, like magic, they will appear.  So that’s where you’ll find my blogroll (which is being heavily trimmed, by the way), feed info, and other stuff that used to be on the main page.

I’ve also deactivated the PostReach comments – those little icon thingies at the end of every post that allowed readers to make wordless comments.  I decided that if you want to comment, you can write a line or two telling me what you think.  Plus they just didn’t match the feng shui of the new look. 🙂

**UPDATE** I’ve also just converted my comment system to Disqus, at the recommendation of a fellow blogger.  Disqus allows a lot of really great features including comment threading and video comments.  Fun fun fun!!!  So you have no excuses– commenting is fun again! 🙂

So I’m back – and what’s been up?  Well, in all honesty, I’ve been spending more time with my friends and family, and just trying to spend LESS time in front of a computer monitor.  I spend 8+ hours, five days a week, in front of a computer.  I needed a break from that on my own time.

That’s not to say I haven’t been spending time in front of my computer.. I’ve just been doing different things.  My latest obsession is SingSnap.  In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically online karaoke.  My friend Teddy clued me into it a few months ago, and in just those short few months, I’ve become something of a rising star there.  I’m not saying I’m ready for a record contract or anything, and I’m much too old for American Idol… but it’s been rather fun, and it’s been a better waste of time than looking at porn or cruising the gay meat markets.

Other than that, I’ve gone camping a couple of times, and spent a lot of time with my friends.  And, of course, I’ve spent more time with my family and my adorable nieces, Abby and Emily.  I can hardly believe they’re already 6 months old… and getting cuter by the minute.

So I’m back, I’m refreshed, and I’m looking forward to a new direction for my blog.  Posts will be shorter.  Photos will happen more often.  And I’m just going to have fun with it.  And like before, if I have nothing to say, I won’t be posting.  I decided that I really like being a part of this world, and I didn’t want to leave it… I just wanted to make it what I want it to be.  Having all of you is just the cherry on top of the sundae.

Here’s a few pictures to get things started… See you soon!

Market Days Madness under the Rainbow Pylons!
Market Days Madness under the Rainbow Pylons!
Camping in Saugatuck - with new and old friends!
Camping in Saugatuck - with new and old friends!
Beth with Emily and Abby at Grandmas house
Beth with Emily and Abby at Grandma's house