Southern Boy in ChiTown

Monday, February 20, 2006

Culture. Moi?

Found out over the weekend that Lady J and I might have somewhat different ideas about how we want to take advantage of being in Chicago. I started talking about the Cubs and da Bulls and she came back with the Joffrey and opera. There are areas where we do cross over - we both love live jazz and live theater and live classical performances, as well as rawk clubz. Neither of us are particularly fond of blues but I'm willing to give it a try. But she is decidedly not a sports fan - our occasional outings to the local AAA ballpark are more for people-watching and good, cheap food and beer. And I am decidedly not a fan of opera or dance, although I did agree to be dragged to the ballet if she really had to. Just to be a little snarky, I told her that only if someone is doing Nixon In China is she going to get me to the opera.

Well, lo and behold...

Guess I'm stuck.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Wardrobe Malfunctions

One of the challenges of this whole working-in-Chicago thing is simply working in an office again for the first time in four or five years. After telecommuting regularly for the last few, I've actually got to go buy some clothes. I did get an indication Friday that the general wardrobe choice is business-casual at least, so I've got something to work with. But I need to be careful with that too, since my employer for many years (and my customer for a few after that) was a high-tech, design-oriented company where walking shorts and Teva sandals were not unusual in the summer. So I hit the sale racks at Kohl's today for cheap slacks and shirts. Still looking for a good pair of shoes to wear to work that will stand up to a long walk from wherever I end up staying, but I found a nice pair at DSW today that will be good for after-work and weekends.

I did hear from my predecesor Friday who the corporate apartment leasing company of choice is and they do have some units in the Grand Plaza, which is the first choice for both me and Lady J - Whole Foods market a couple of blocks away, lots of restaurants and stuff nearby and less than a mile walk for me to work. I'm hoping next week to get something together so we can get the living arrangements settled.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Excitement or Relief?

I can't tell if I'm starting to get excited about the new challenges of the new account or if I'm just so stinking tired of the old challenges on the old account(s). I'm absolutely mentally exhausted with little brain room or real time to do any planning for starting the job in Chicago, which is a bad thing as I have millions of things to do. I'm so glad that I insisted on taking a week off in between assignments, both to do some recreating as well as to take care of some of these last minute things that I can put off. Going to work on a new-ish account with lots of growing pains should be much more fun that working on an account that is being shut down.

I did manage to get the taxes filed last weekend, which is good since I need the refund to pick up a laptop (still haven't ordered it) and probably some clothes and additional luggage. Lady J insists that our next house will have a room dedicated specifically to luggage storage, but despite that we still don't have anything sufficient to packing for a couple of weeks at a time. After telecommuting for the last few years, I'm going to have to buy some new clothes (shorts and Outer Banks restaurant t's won't cut it). I'm just not sure yet whether we're talking business casual or the old tie-and-jacket thing.

Can't come soon enough for me today, but tonight I'm sure I'll be panicking about all that is left to do.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Well, I *Thought* It Was Official

It looked for a little while today that maybe things weren't quite as definite as I thought. I heard from one of the bosses on one of my current accounts (I won't bore you with our internal nonsense titles for these positions) that our account exec was not happy with the change. I guess that makes me feel good that they didn't want to lose me and it made me very confused about how I felt about maybe not doing this after all. Mostly annoyed, I think, since I've spent so much time (as had my wife, from here on out referred to as "Lady J") getting my head around doing this thing. But it looks like we're good to go anyway - not sure what happened by this afternoon, but I think we're all set. Now comes figuring out all the things we need to do around here before I split for a couple of weeks.

One of the things I'm trying to figure out is how to keep running regularly. I've been a morning runner for the last couple of years, hitting the road about 6:30, finishing around 7:30 and being at work at 8:30 (since going to work means walking upstairs). This will not be nearly so easy when I've got a 9-10 block walk or bus ride every day. Weekends should be nice since I'll have miles and miles of Lake Michigan shoreline at my disposal, but I'm going to have to learn to run on a treadmill during the week, I'm afraid. That's a problem, since for some reason my heartrate goes through the roof on a treadmill, even though I set the pace for a little slower than I run on the road or in the woods. I finish a 4 mile run on pavement with a heart rate of about 140. After a mile on the treadmill, I'm spiking well over 160. Gotta figure that out.

Lots of work to do to finish up my current projects (just shut down after putting in another hour or so tonight). Time to catch a little bit of Olympic action and hit the sack.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

It's Official

It appears that all is in order and that I'll be heading up to Chicago in mid-March. The expectation is that I'll be there every week for at least 4-5 months, with (if all goes well) that tapering off to one week out of three or four. Of course, if all DOESN'T go well, it might mean that I'd be off the account anyway.

I'll be looking into corporate housing in a couple of weeks but just to make sure I've got a place to stay the first trip, I've already booked a couple of weeks in the funky old Allerton Hotel. It's almost a mile from the Aon Center and far from my first choice, but at least I know where it is from my last trip to Chicago (at least a dozen years ago).

If you're a family member or friend, welcome! I do intend to continue to publish my other blog at least sporadically, but I've added this one as a completely anonymous blog for security reasons, so please help me keep it that way. I don't plan to moderate comments, so I need your help in keep any mention of my other blog and other websites that might identify me out of this. Thanks!

If on the other hand you somehow stumbled across this blog, welcome to you too! I intend to use it to chronicle my upcoming assignment in Chicago, with particular focus on photography. There is an RSS link that I'll slap into the template but in the meantime, here it is.