Saturday, August 22, 2015

Monday, August 17-Friday, August 21: Chicago, IL

8/17/15- 7:30 p.m.

Alex left this morning around 8:45 a.m. It was great getting to visit with him for a few days; I'm not sure when we will get to see him again since in a few months he leaves for Israel for one to two years.

I was planning on going to sleep after Alex took off, but I was wide awake. Finally I got out of bed and went to the laundromat to take care of my dirty clothes.

Back at the lot I helped Ryan clean off the metal that Martin welded for Pompeyo's new dog props, and then we primed all the pieces.
We ran out of spray paint before we completely finished, but we were able to attach wheels to the pieces that needed them.

This afternoon Ryan and I received some great news that put me in one of the best moods I've been in in a long time.

Dave, our friend who is head concessionaire on Cirque Du Soliel's "Kurios", came to watch the show tonight with his wife and infant son.
He brought us the brand new "Kurios" program, which they just received recently. It is a huge, hard cover program with beautiful photos of the show and artists, and he told us that it retails for $30!
Thank you, Dave, for the awesome gift!

It began pouring down rain during Intermission, and the rain continued to come down all night. By the time I headed over to the concessions tent for a birthday party, the lot was flooded. It brought back nasty memories of last year at this location.

The celebration was a joint birthday party for the Pompeyo Family's older daughter, and one other girl on the show.
There were party games for the children and adults, and I someone got roped into playing musical chairs with the women.

You may laugh, but those ladies played for keeps! Maybe around the third turn I went to sit in a chair and lost my balance in the frantic shuffle.
I came down on the floor directly on my butt, and on the way down I scraped my back on the seat of one of the metal folding chairs.

I couldn't believe how much the injury on my back hurt, so I excused myself from the party and limped home where no one could see me cry my bitter, pained, loser's tears.

No more innocent party games for this clown!

8/18/15- 7:30 p.m.

This morning I picked up Emma at her hotel, and we went to brunch at West Town Bakery, which my friends, Beth and Greg, had taken me to last week.
The food was just as good this time around, and I picked up a few delicious baked goods to take home to enjoy as well.

This afternoon I was able to finish priming the metal for the dog props, but that was about all we accomplished on them.

I knew we were slated to get more bad weather this evening, but I had no idea how bad it had the potential to be.
Eddie came to us shortly after the show had begun and told us that there was a tornado watch in effect for pretty much all of Chicago and its suburbs.
He asked all of the performers to keep their acts moving along so we could finish the show quickly and get the audience out of the tent.

Things must have developed faster than everyone expected, because we soon got word that the show would end after the first half.
Memo told the audience that their tickets could be exchanged for passes to one of our remaining shows in Chicago.

Ryan and I headed home to change, and then we were going to get Ryan's family and go to the nearby Target, where we would at least be safer than in our trailers.

Just as I was collecting my valuables and getting ready to step out the door, the rain began to pour down, and I felt a couple of strong gusts of wind rock my trailer.
I immediately thought, "We need to go.....NOW!", so I ran out into the storm.

There was no way to shield myself from the rain since it was blowing from all directions, and as I was walking against the wind to get to Ryan's house, my umbrella blew inside out.

I got into Ryan's house as he and his family finished gathering anything they needed. I toweled off, and by the time we started heading to Ryan's truck, the wind had subsided and the rain had lessened.

We drove to Target and saw the Pompeyo Family and Laura were the only other folks from the circus that had decided to get away from the lot.
Laura told me that everyone else was riding out the storm and waiting to see if it would get any worse before leaving the lot.

I settled into the Starbucks area near the Target's entrance and had a cup of coffee while I read my newest book. What better way to calm my jangled nerves during a tornado watch than by having a hot cup of caffeine and reading a horror novel by Stephen King?!

It turns out that the heavy winds and rain that occurred as we were leaving the lot was the worst of the storm in our area.
After Ryan and his family finished shopping we headed back to the lot and enjoyed a much calmer rest of our evening.

8/19/15- 7:30 p.m.

Ryan and I started our day with a trip to Home Depot. We picked up sheets and sticks of wood, and then back at the lot we began cutting the wood into pieces and attaching those pieces to some of the metal dog prop frames.

We were only able to get one seat completed before it was time to get ready for work.

There was a fantastic audience for the show tonight. For the vacuum gag I could only find one bald man in the entire crowd, and I was reticent to use him because he didn't look like he would enjoy two clowns joking around with him.
What a surprise when he turned out to be the best audience volunteer we've had since we started doing the vacuum gag last year.
He began to genuinely belly laugh the moment we began playing with him, and he didn't stop until we had moved onto the next bit. It was fantastic!

After the show a family came up to get their picture taken with us. The matriarch of the family said, "You guys were good", and on the word 'good' her voice raised just a little bit, giving what she said a tone of uncertainty.
She laughed when I replied, "You sound surprised about that."

8/20/15- 7:30 p.m.

This morning Ryan, his family, and I met Luis and his wife at the Czech Plaza restaurant in Berwyn.
Claudie and Dominik, who both come from the Czech Republic, highly recommended that we try that restaurant, and I now I can see why.

The food was great, the prices were reasonable, and the portions were HUGE!
I believe Luis was the only one out of the group that had any authentic Czech cuisine (he had pierogis).
I had some great wienerschnitzel, and Ryan had chicken paprikas. He also ordered a side of potato pancakes for the table. Mmm mmm good!

We all stayed and talked for a long time after we had finished eating, and as we were on our way back to the truck, Tatiana spied a children's clinic.
Since Abrianna was due for another series of shots, she wanted to get them taken care of while we close to a clinic.

I went grocery shopping in a nearby Meijer's while the Combs family visited the doctor, but I was finished long before they were.
I sat in their truck in the parking lot forever before they returned. It turns out the doctor didn't even have all of the shots that Abrianna needs, so they have to return on Monday.

We had another great audience for the show tonight. I'm happy that the crowds have been so receptive here in Chicago.

8/21/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

I woke up this morning at 6:00 a.m. to get ready for our morning television publicity.
The nationally broadcast UNIVISION show, "Despierta America", was broadcasting live from our tent.

I stumbled over to the big top around 6:50 a.m. to take over our props and get into costume. In the stands I spotted a table containing coffee and doughnuts, and because I had my sights set on those goodies, I almost walked right past the host, Birmania, who we worked with in NYC last year.

Shortly after 7:00 a.m. we filmed our first segment, which was about three and a half minutes long. Birmania was interviewing a singer, and Ryan and I kept running in to interrupt them.
It was a difficult situation because there were a lot of people from town that came to be a part of the broadcast, and so space between them, the host and the guest, and the camera was pretty tight.
Ryan and I did a couple of walkarounds and juggled, and that was that for the first segment.

We weren't needed again until the end of the program, which was in the 9 o'clock hour, so we had a lot of downtime to sit and wait.
I read for awhile, but we were also approached by several audience members who wanted to talk with us and ask questions.
It was excellent Spanish practice for me, and I actually surprised myself several times by how much I actually knew how to say.

After filming the final segment we got cleaned up and went straight to work on the dog props.
We were able to put wood on all of the dog seats, and then we decided to call it a day so we could rest a bit before our two shows.

I was able to get in a quick nap before getting ready, but frankly it didn't help too much. I was so exhausted for the first performance.
Somehow I got my second wind for the 9:00 p.m. show, but I was incredibly slap happy. Everything was striking me as funny, and my hysterics went on way longer than they should have for the stuff that actually was funny.

I was so thankful to get into bed after such a long, full day.

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