Posts Tagged ‘sadness’

Living In Limbo

January 10, 2014

Thursday January 9th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I can feel a ball of excitement brewing in my immediate future, and it’s giving me a lot of hope for a great year in 2014 – which I predict will be my greatest ever by far. I shot for last year to be that and in many ways it was, but the vibe I’ve got now is markedly better. This is at full throttle.

Nothing is ever perfect though, and I’m deeply disturbed by the horrific situation my roommate Sheri is in. It’s magnified a hundred times, because I’m living in her house. It’s silent to the point of ridiculousness, and I can’t help but be saddened all over again every time I walk in the door.

Sheri has a dog named “Indy” (short for Indiana) that’s a little fuzz bucket that was never more than five feet from her at any time. He’s a yipping little thing and could be annoying at times, but he protected Sheri with his life. He was her pride and joy, and she treated him like her only child.

I’ve never been a pet owner, but I would never think of being mean to an animal. I could sense how important Indy was to Sheri, and even though I’d only been here a month he was starting to grow on me too. He always tried to get in my room, and when he did he’d dig through my stuff.

I wasn’t thrilled at first, but I learned to keep the door closed and it was fine. He wasn’t hurting anything, and had a very playful vibe. He scampered around the house, and if I took time to play with him he totally got into it. He loved the attention, and it felt like he was getting used to me.

It got to the point I would look forward to playing with him when I got home. I could hear him yipping when I opened the garage door, and he’d jump up on me when I walked in the house. It’s not that way now at all, and it’s eerie. The silence is deafening and serves as a constant reminder.

Sheri’s long time friend Debra stops by on occasion to give me updates. Nobody is exactly sure of anything, other than the fact Sheri will be laid up indefinitely. She will have a long tough road back to say the least, but nobody is quite sure where “back” will be. They’re still examining how much damage there was, and it’s a process that will take a while. I have no experience with this.

Debra said I was welcome to stay here for the immediate future, but after that nobody knows. It may come to the point where they need to sell the house, and that’s understandable. She also said it’s good that someone is living here to keep the walk shoveled and look after things. I told her to keep me informed, and whatever I need to do is fine. I’m living in limbo, but I’ll help if I’m able.

The very least I can do is organize a comedy benefit show, and I put the word out today for all the Zanies staff that know Sheri. I’m sure Zanies will let us do the show in one of their locations at some point, and I think it needs to be done for everyone. Obviously Sheri can use some money to pay some immediate expenses, but it will be good for all of us to come together to support too.

I have hosted so many benefits at this point that part is the very least of my worries. I’ll be able to get comedians and we will do a show. We’ll have a friendly crowd that will show up to donate to a worthy cause. The Zanies staff will get together and have fun, and we’ll give 100% of all the night’s proceeds to Sheri. That’s all great, but it just seems SO wrong that we need to do it in the first place. Life is short, delicate and comes with zero guarantees. This is not a pleasant scenario.

Sheri Johnson worked at Zanies Comedy Club in Vernon Hills, IL for twenty years. She has a huge heart, and suffered a major stroke recently. Prayers are nice, but she needs money to pay her immediate bills.

Sheri Johnson worked at Zanies Comedy Club in Vernon Hills, IL for twenty years. She has a huge heart, and suffered a major stroke recently. Prayers are nice, but she needs money to pay her immediate bills.

The Vernon Hills location has closed, but there are three more in the Chicago area and I'm sure they will let us do a benefit in the near future. It's the right thing to do, and I will make sure it happens.

The Vernon Hills location has closed, but there are three more in the Chicago area and I’m sure they will let us do a benefit in the near future. It’s the right thing to do, and I will do all I can to make sure it happens. We all need it.

Unplanned Sadness

January 8, 2014

Saturday January 4th, 2014 – Normal, IL/Island Lake, IL

I had a strong feeling before 2014 started that it would be a year full of dramatic changes. What I wrongly assumed is that they’d all be as positive as the vibe I’ve been in of late. That vibe took a serious hit as I received word my roommate Sheri suffered a major stroke on New Year’s Eve.

I got a text message out of the blue from Sheri’s friend Debra as I was driving home, and I had to pull the car over so I could make sure I was understanding what it said. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, but I don’t think Debra would make something like that up. She and Sheri go way back, but I’ve only met her a couple of times. There’s no reason for her to play any jokes on me.

Apparently, some friends had tried to call and text Sheri to wish her a Happy New Year but got no response. That’s not like Sheri, and they eventually got worried and went to see if she was ok. From what I’m hearing that’s when they found her unconscious on the floor and called for help.

I wouldn’t have expected this scenario in a million years. Sheri is a few years younger than me, and I’ve known her at least twenty years. She was a waitress and bartender at the Zanies Comedy Club in Vernon Hills, IL, and was even the manager for a brief time. It was down to her and one other person and the other person got it, but she still worked there on and off for years after that.

The staff at that particular Zanies was and is one of the closest knit workplace groups I’ve ever seen anywhere. Those people were more like family to me than my blood family the last twenty years, and there’s something very comforting about that. I love those people, and they love me.

The last three living situations I’ve had were all with former Zanies employees who had houses and rented me a room. The first two lasted three years each, and that’s pretty rare. I can’t say that I’d live at Sheri’s that long, mainly because it’s out in the sticks and difficult to get into the city.

Sheri inherited some money several years ago, and decided to buy a house. She asked me what I thought, and I told her it was her money and she should do what she wanted. It wouldn’t be my choice, but that’s not the issue in question. She decided she wanted it, so that’s what she chose.

Over the time she owned it she got and lost a couple of jobs and had a few roommates move in and out, and she always told me I’d have a place there because she knew I would pay her rent on time and not trash the place – which was true. I told her the location didn’t fit my needs but I was still thankful for her generosity. Sheri was always a giving person, to the point of getting used.

That happens with giving souls, as I’m one too. There are always those few scumbags that ruin it, and that’s just how it is. I would never abuse Sheri or anyone else’s kindness, and she knew it. When I needed a place to crash at least temporarily in December, I knew Sheri would let me stay until I decided what to do. I knew she could use the rent for Christmas, so it worked out ideally.

I had no idea how long I would stay, but my plans were to not make it long. Now, I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I have no idea how long she’ll be hospitalized, or how bad the damage is from her stroke. Hopefully, she’ll make a full recovery. Whatever she would need from me I will gladly do. If I have to leave, I’ll do that too. It’s all about her needs, but what a shock this all is.

I couldn't be any sadder after hearing what happened to a friend I've known for many years. Life can be SO unfair.

I couldn’t be any sadder after hearing what happened to a friend I’ve known for twenty years. Life can be SO unfair.

Door Jammed

January 9, 2013

Wednesday January 9th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

Comedians as a rule will tend to use our most painful and/or stressful life situations to craft our comedy material. It’s what we do. I can say first hand from all too much bitter experience there’s absolutely NOTHING more unfunny or torturous than having to live one of those bits in reverse.

This ‘free’ car I have is becoming a total nightmare. It’s been one ridiculously outrageous high cost problem after the next, and I stopped laughing a long time ago. It’s becoming a major hassle as I’m so deep into it financially I don’t know what to do. It’s a swift kick right in my ball joints.

Today I received the delightful news my driver’s door latch malfunction will only set me back a paltry $350 to fix – and that doesn’t come with any guarantees it will work as long as I keep the car. The body shop manager’s head snapped back as I laughed out loud heartily when he shot me the final number. “I didn’t expect that reaction,” he said. “I didn’t expect that price,” I countered.

He was actually a very nice guy and went on to explain how difficult it was to even find a latch for my particular door. He only found five in the entire country, and it would take several days to have one shipped in before they could even fix it. I don’t think the guy was lying, and he took the time to show me where all five of the latches were located and what work all needed to be done.

There’s no way I want to throw another $350 into this unending money sucking nightmare, but what else am I supposed to do? I already have way more than I ever wanted to stick into this ugly mess as it is, and it’s not anything I can ever get back out. I’m in a tight spot here, and it rots ass.

What I told them to try was to secure the latch somehow so the door can lock and not pop open in traffic. I don’t care if they have to weld it shut, I can’t see wasting another $350 on top of all I already spent. As inconvenient as it will be, I’ll crawl over from the passenger side and slide into the driver’s seat for the rest of the time I own the car – which I don’t expect to be for long now.

It kills me to have to eat such a heaping pile of manure, but I’m going to have to cut my losses and move on. I threw everything into this car, thinking it would last at least a year. Unfortunately the engine and transmission probably would have easily done that and more. It’s the other ton of glitches that are absolutely killing me. $825 for an exhaust system? Brakes? That money is shot.

The timing of this whole fiasco is what hurts the most. There have been times in my life when I could have weathered this kind of storm financially and laughed it off. Right now I am struggling harder than I ever have, and I really need that car to last the rest of the year. I was counting on it.

We’ll see how many times I can squeeze my fanny over the gear shift knob before I flip all the way out and set it on fire, but right now I can’t think of a better alternative. I have a rental car for the rest of this week, but next Monday I’m going to have to deal with this every day of my life.

I’m sure I can take it to other places and get other estimates, but the bottom line is I’m stuck in a horribly inconvenient situation I never planned for. On stage, it’s hilarious. In real life, it hurts.